ClF2- Lewis Structure & Characteristics: 11 Complete Facts

ClF2 is an interhalogen compound with molecular mass 72.965 g/mol. Let us discuss the structure and characteristics of ClF2 briefly.

ClF2 possesses a linear structure and trigonal bipyramidal geometry. It is defined as an interhalogen compound because two halogen atoms are involved to form this chemical species. Difluoro chlorate also acts as three hydrogen bond acceptors but not hydrogen bond donor.

Let us give a clear concept on the structure, hybridization, bond angle, lone pair with some relevant topics on chlorine difluoride (ClF2) in detail.

How to draw ClF2 lewis structure?

Drawing of lewis structure is essential for any molecule to get idea on the molecular geometry as well as the shape of the molecule. Let us discuss about it.

Determining the valence electrons:  

Chlorine and fluorine belong to the group 17 of periodic table. Both of them have seven electrons in their respective valence shell.

Finding out the bonding electrons:

There are two covalent bonds between chlorine and fluorine. Therefore, (2×2) = 4 electrons are considered as bonding electrons.

Finding out the nonbonding electrons:

Chlorine and fluorine both have six nonbonding electrons which are not participating in bonding. These electrons are shown as electron dots around the respective atoms in the following image.

clf2- lewis structure
ClF2 Lewis Structure

ClF2 Lewis Structure Shape

Lewis structure shape, the three-dimensional arrangement of the constituent atoms, can be determined from the VSEPR theory. Let us talk about this in detail.

The lewis structure shape of ClF2 is linear. But it shows its molecular geometry as trigonal bipyramidal (determined from sp3d hybridization).  Two fluorine atoms are located in the axial position and the three lone pairs of chlorine are oriented in the three equatorial positions of the TBP geometry.

These difference between molecular geometry and lewis structure shape is caused by the presence of lone pair on the central atom, chlorine. Two fluorine atoms in the two axial positions give a linear shape to the ClF2 molecule.

ClF2 Lewis Structure Shape

Formal charge, theoretical or fake charge carried by the atoms in a molecule, can be easily determined from the molecular lewis structure. Let us give an overview on it.

The net formal charge of ClF2 is -1, which can be calculated by using this formula = {Total number of valance electrons – number of nonbonding electrons– (number of electrons involved in bonding/2)}.

  • Formal charge of chlorine = 7 – 6 – (4/2) = -1
  • Formal charge of each of the two fluorine atoms = 7 – 6 – (2/2) = 0
  • Therefore, the total charge carried by the molecule, ClF2 is = (-1+0) = -1

ClF2 Lewis Structure Angle

Lewis structure angle is the angle created by the two covalent bonds and one atom connecting between these two bonds. Let us discuss about it.

The lewis structure angle of ClF2 is 1800 due to the linear structure of this molecule. This angle is generated between the two Cl-F bonds which are oriented at the two axial positions of trigonal bipyramidal geometry of ClF2 molecule.

ClF2 Lewis Structure Octet Rule

Octet rule is a rule of inorganic chemistry which states that any atom in a molecule should have eight electrons in their outer most shell. Let us give an overview on it.

Octet rule is not satisfied in ClF2 as its constituent atoms does not obey the rule. Chlorine has already seven electrons in its valence shell and after bonding with two fluorine atoms, it achieves more than eight electrons. Therefore, it does not obey the octet rule.

But fluorine obeys octet rule because it has seven electrons in its valence shell and after bonding with chlorine it gets one more electron through the covalent bonding. Therefore, it achieves eight electrons it its outer most shell which resembles with its nearest noble gas neon.

ClF2 Lewis Structure Lone Pairs

The valence electrons which are not shared with another atoms through bonding, are defined as lone pairs or nonbonding electrons. Let us talk about this in detail.

The lewis structure of ClF2 has total 18 nonbonding electrons or 9 lone pairs which can be calculated from the formula = (Total number electrons in valence shell – number of bonding electrons). The total number of lone pairs of any molecule are the summation of the lone pairs of its constituent atoms.

  • Nonbonding electrons of Cl= 8 – 2= 6 or 3 lone pairs
  • Nonbonding electrons of fluorine = 7 – 1 = 6 or 3 lone pairs.
  • Therefore, total number of nonbonding electrons in ClF2is 6 + (2×6) = 18.

ClF2 Valence Electrons

Outer most shell electrons associated of any atom is considered as valence electrons. Let us discuss about it in brief.

ClF2 has total 22 valence electrons in the valence shell of chlorine and fluorine. Chlorine is negatively charged in ClF2. Therefore, it contains (7+1) = 8 electrons in its 3s and 3p orbital. Each of the fluorine atom has total 7 electrons in its valence shell (n=2).

Fluorine and chlorine both are halogen atom with same electron configuration in their valence shell. Chlorine has valence shell electron configuration 3s2 3p5 and fluorine has 2s2 2p5 configuration in its valence shell.

ClF2 Hybridization

When two atomic orbitals having similar energy and symmetry of two atoms are mixed, a new hybrid orbital is generated which is known as hybridization. Let us explain this.

The hybridization of ClF2 is sp3d. Cl has four nonbonding electrons which occupy 3s and 3p orbitals and rest of the 3p orbitals and one 3d orbital define the two Cl-F bonds. Therefore, sp3d hybrid orbital is generated.

In ClF2, one s, three p and one d orbital of chlorine are involved to generate sp3d hybrid orbital. This hybridization gives the idea about the molecular geometry and molecular shape of ClF2 to be TBP and linear respectively.

Is ClF2 polar or nonpolar?

Any molecule polar or nonpolar can be decided from its molecular shape (for covalent compound) or the separation of charge (for ionic compound). Let us comment on it.

ClF2 is a nonpolar molecule and it possesses zero dipole moment because of its linear structure. The bond moment of one Cl-F bond is cancelled out by another Cl-F bond because of the bond angle 1800. Therefore, instead of having polar Cl-F bond, it shows zero dipole moment.

Is ClF2 electrolyte?

Electrolytes are those which contain two distinct charges (positive and negative), and which can be dissociated into two opposite ions in solvated condition. Let us explain it.

ClF2 is not an electrolyte as it does not contain any distinct charges like an electrolyte. It cannot be dissociated into two oppositely charged ions when dissolved in water or any other solvent. Besides, it is a covalent compound and in most of the cases, covalent compounds are nonelectrolyte.

Is ClF2 ionic or covalent?

Ionic and covalency character depends upon the bonds present in the molecule which is formed whether by sharing or complete transferring of electrons. Let us discuss it.

ClF2 is a covalent compound as the two Cl-F bonds are formed by the sharing of electron pairs between two atoms, Cl and F. The molecule contains two nonmetal atoms but ionic compound should contain one metal atom.

Besides that, the electronegativity difference between Cl and F is also comparable. Therefore, electrons cannot be completely transferred from one atom to another one to be an ionic compound.


ClF2is an example of interhalogen compound like ICl3 ClF3 and many more. It is a non-electrolyte and covalent compound with zero dipole moment due to its linear structure for cancellation of bond dipole moment.

Aditi Roy

Hello, I am Aditi Ray, a chemistry SME on this platform. I have completed graduation in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta and post graduation from Techno India University with a specialization in Inorganic Chemistry. I am very happy to be a part of the Lambdageeks family and I would like to explain the subject in a simplistic way. Let's connect through LinkedIn-

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