CHCl3 lewis structure,Characteristics:13 Must To Know Facts

This article will focus on CHCl3 lewis structure, shape, hybridization, formal charge, acid strength, and other important facts.

Chloroform is a colorless liquid with a strong smell. Its chemical formula is CHCl3. It is denser that water with 1.49g/cm3 density. It is prepared by reaction of methane with chlorine. It is used in anesthesia as a sedative.

How to draw CHCl3 lewis structure?

Lewis structure is the representation of electrons around the atoms in a molecule.We will follow a few steps to draw the CHCl3 lewis structure. We will assign carbon as the central atom as it is the least electronegative atom, count the valence electrons of all atoms and draw the skeleton structure of CHCl3.

The central atom is usually the least electronegative atom or least in number or the atom that can form the most bonds. In the next step, we will calculate the valence electrons of all the atoms present in CHCl3.

Carbon belongs to group 14 and has four valence electrons. Hydrogen is in group 1 with one valence electron. Chlorine is in group 17 with seven valence electrons. Total valence electrons are 4+1+7=12. Now we will place carbon in the center and form single bonds with hydrogen and chlorine and check the octet of each atom.

The valence shell of each atom is completely filled; now, we will draw the lone pair electrons around chlorine(it has three lone pairs, it uses one valence electron to form a bond with carbon, and completes its octet). The ChCl3 lewis structure is shown below:

CHCl3 lewis structure octet rule

The octet rule helps us in understanding chemical bonding. Atoms try to fill eight electrons(octet) in their valence shell which is known as the octet rule.

Although the octet rule is very useful, many atoms do not obey this rule. Hydrogen has one electron in its valence shell; it does not obey the octet rule and only needs one more electron to fill its valence shell and get a Helium-like configuration.

Carbon has four electrons in its valence shell(2s22p2) and needs four more electrons to complete its octet. Carbon forms four single bonds, in this case, and completes its octet. Chlorine has seven valence electrons(3s23p5) and completes its octet by forming a single bond with carbon.

CHCl3 lewis structure shape

VSEPR theory helps in predicting the shapes of molecules. A molecule of AX4 type with four bonded atoms and zero lone pairs has a tetrahedral geometry according to VSEPR. In CHCl3, there are four electron pairs with no lone pairs, and the atoms arrange themselves at the corner of a regular tetrahedron to minimize repulsion between the electron pairs. The molecular shape and electronic geometry of CHCl3 are tetrahedral.

CHCl3 hybridization

Hybridization is a theoretical concept in which two or more atomic orbitals of comparable energies mix together to produce an equal number of hybrid orbitals.

To calculate the hybridization, we first calculate the steric number.

Steric number = Number of sigma bonds+ number of lone pairs.

CHCl3 lewis structure is a covalently bonded molecule in which carbon forms four sigma bonds and zero lone pairs, the steric number is four(4+0). The hybridization of carbon atom is sp3 based on the steric number value in the table given below:

Steric numberHybridization                                  
Hybridization Table

Chcl3 valence electrons

In ChCl3 lewis structure, carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine belong to groups 14, 1, and 17, respectively. Carbon has four valence electrons (2s22p2), hydrogen has one(1s1) and chlorine has seven(3s23p5). The total valence electrons are 4+1+7=12.

Chcl3 lewis structure lone pairs

There are no lone pairs on the central atom(carbon). Only chlorine has three lone pairs (six electrons), which can be seen in the Chcl3 lewis structure shown above.

Chcl3 lewis structure resonance

Lewis structure resonance is seen in compounds where multiple bonds(double or triple), lone pairs, or both are present. In these cases, the lewis structure is represented by the resonance hybrid or combination of all the lewis structures possible. In case of CHCl3 lewis structure, there is only one possible lewis structure which is shown above.

Chcl3 lewis structure formal charge

In a compound, different atoms have different electronegativities. We can calculate the formal charge, if we suppose that all atoms have the same electronegativity.

It is not the actual charge on the atom because every atom has a different electronegativity. We are assuming the above condition to calculate the formal charge on an atom in a covalent compound. The formula given below helps us in calculating the formal charge:

FORMAL CHARGE= V-N-B/2, where V is the number of valence electrons in a free atom(isolated atom), N is the number of non-bonded electrons(also known as lone pairs), and B is the total number of bonded or shared electrons. Using this formula, the formal charge on carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine in CHCl3 is given below:

Atom  Number of valence electrons- V    Number of non-bonded electrons- N total number of bonded electrons- BFormal ChargeH1021-0-2/2=0C4084-0-8/2=0Cl7627-6-2/2=0Formal Charge of Chcl3 lewis structure

The formal charge of all the atoms in the CHCl3 lewis structure is zero.

Chcl3 lewis structure angle

ChCl3 has a tetrahedral geometry, with carbon being sp3 hybridized. In AX4 type molecule where the central atom is surrounded by the same atoms with no lone pair, 109.5angle is observed.

In CHCl3, the atoms around the central atom(carbon) are hydrogen and chlorine atoms which have different electronegativities. Each chlorine atom has three lone pairs which strongly repel each other. The repulsion between electron pairs is in the order: lone pair/lone pair › lone pair/bond pair › bond pair/bond pair.

Due to the repulsion between lone pairs on the three chlorine atoms, the C-Cl bond angle will be slightly greater than 109.5, and the C-H bond angle will be slightly less than 109.5.

CHCl3 structure

Is CHCl3 ionic?

No CHCl3 is not ionic. It is a covalent compound as the bond formed between the atoms is due to sharing valence electrons not the transfer of electrons as seen in ionic compounds.

Is Chcl3 polar or nonpolar?

CHCl3 is polar due to electronegativity differences between the atoms. Chlorine is the most electronegative atom in this case, and the electron density is more towards chlorine which makes the C-Cl bond polar. CHCl3 has a tetrahedral structure, and the C-Cl bonds are polar with the dipole moment value of 1.03D.

Dipole moment in CHCl3

Is Chcl3 acidic or basic?

An acid is an atom or molecule that either loses a proton or accepts a pair of electrons (lewis acid). On the other hand, bases are substances that give hydroxide ion in an aqueous solution or donates a pair of electrons.

CHCl3 is acidic as it can lose its proton to form a CCl3 ion as the conjugate base. The negative charge is stabilized by back-bonding. Chlorine has vacant d-orbitals which stabilize the negative charge on carbon by back-donating electron density from 2p orbital of carbon to 3d orbital of chlorine.

Chcl3 solubility

Chlorine is soluble in the following solvents:

  • Benzene
  • Alcohol
  • Ether
  • Acetone
  • Gasoline
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Carbon disulfide

The solubility of a substance depends on its chemical nature and how it interacts with the solvent. Even though CHCl3 has a net dipole moment hence polar, it is not polar enough(there are degrees of polarity) to dissolve in water or other strong polar solvents. It dissolves in the above organic solvents, which have a low dielectric constant.

Is Chcl3 tetrahedral?

Yes, CHCl3 has a tetrahedral shape and geometry with carbon being sp3 hybridized atom.

Is Chcl3 linear?

No, CHCl3 is not linear. It is tetrahedral with a bond angle on around 109.5.


Chloroform is an organic compound with tetrahedral geometry and shape. It is polar due to the net dipole moment. This article explained the lewis structure, shape, polarity, acidity, solubility, hybridization, shape, and the formal charge of chloroform.

Sakshi Anand

Hello, I am Sakshi Anand completed my Master's in Chemistry. My area of specialization is Inorganic Chemistry. I am here to make chemistry easy and enjoyable to read. Complex ideas do not require complex language. I am an avid reader and enjoy researching intensively.

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