ClI3 Lewis Structure & Characteristics (17 Important Facts)

Valence electrons of atoms of a molecule get represented in the line and dots pattern are called lewis structure. Let us have some detailed discussion on the ClI3 lewis structure.

The ClI3 lewis structure contains 2 atoms i.e. chlorine and iodine atoms. It has 1 Cl atom and 3 I atoms. Both I and Cl are non-metals and are known as halogens. Thus, ClI3 is an inter-halogen compound. In ClI3 (chlorine tri-iodide) Cl is less electronegative than I so it occupies a central position.

All the Cl and 3 I atoms get connected with 3 single covalent bonds denoted by lines. The remaining electrons get placed first on 3 I and then on the central Cl atom. Let us discuss more on about valence electrons, formal charge, lone pairs, and many more characteristics of the ClI3 lewis structure with some facts about it.

How to draw ClI3 lewis structure?

Below are the given steps and explanation for drawing the ClI3 lewis structure.

Valence electrons in ClI3 and its bonding:

Count the total valence electrons present on the ClI3 lewis structure by doing a summation of all the Cl and I atoms present on it. Make the covalent bonds shown by single lines between all Cl and I atoms.

Count lone pairs of ClI3 and apply the octet rule to it:

Extra valence electrons after bonding first put on all 3 I atoms and then on the central Cl atom and count them. Apply the octet rule on the ClI3 lewis structure to know whether the Cl and I atoms have complete, incomplete, or extended octets.

Calculate the formal charge of ClI3 and predict its shape:

The formal charge present on the ClI3 lewis structure should get calculated by using a specific formula of a formal charge. Finally, predict the shape of ClI3 with its hybridization and bond angle.

ClI3 lewis structure

ClI3 valence electrons

The electron available on the outermost orbital of an atom or molecule is known as the valence electron. Take a look at the detailed explanation of ClI3 valence electrons.

The ClI3 lewis structure has overall 28 valence electrons. The chlorine and iodine atoms of ClI3 are halogen atoms and both belong to the 17th group in the periodic table. Therefore, both the chlorine and iodine atoms contain seven valence electrons in their outermost valence shell orbital.

The ClI3 lewis structure valence electrons get calculated and explained in the following steps given below.

  • The chlorine atom of ClI3 contains valence electrons is = 07 x 1 (Cl) = 07
  • The iodine atom of ClI3 contains valence electrons is = 07 x 03 (I) = 21
  • Valence electrons present on ClI3 lewis structure is = 07 (Cl) + 21 (I) = 28
  • Total electron pairs available on ClI3 lewis structure is calculated by dividing its valence electrons by 2 = 28 / 2 = 14
  • Hence, the total valence electrons on the ClI3 lewis structure are 28 and the total electron pairs are 14.

ClI3 lewis structure lone pairs

The extra valence electrons that remain after bonding between atoms gets unshared are called lone pair electrons. Let us discuss the ClI3 lewis structure lone pair electrons.

The ClI3 lewis structure has a total of 11 lone pairs of electrons. It has a total of 28 valence electrons. Six electrons get engaged to form 3 bonds within Cl and I atoms and are 3 bond pairs. Extra 22 valence electrons are unshared and get placed on 3 I atoms and then on central Cl atoms.

The lone pair electrons on the ClI3 lewis structure are calculated in the given following steps.

  • Lone pair electrons on ClI3 is = Valence electrons of ClI3( V. E ) – Number of bonds / 2
  • The central Cl atom of ClI3 contains lone pair electron is = 7 ( V. E ) – 3 (bonds) / 2 = 4 / 2 = 2
  • The three I atoms of ClI3 contains lone pair electrons is = 7 ( V. E ) – 1 (bond)  / 2 = 6 / 2 = 3
  • The lone pair electrons on the ClI3 lewis structure is = 2 (Cl) +  3 x 3 (I) = 2 + 9 = 11
  • Hence the ClI3 lewis structure has a total of 11 lone pairs of electron present on it.

ClI3 lewis structure octet rule

The atoms containing 8 electrons in their outer shell are stable atoms as explained in the octet rule. Below is a brief explanation of the ClI3 lewis structure octet rule.

The ClI3 lewis structure contains complete octets of all three outer I atoms and an extended octet of a central Cl atom. The outer 3 I atoms get surrounded by a total of eight electrons i.e. 2 bond pairs and 6 unshared pair electrons. The ClI3 has 8 electrons on all 3 I atoms and has complete octets.

The central Cl atom is surrounded by total of ten electrons i.e. six bond pair electrons and four non-bonding electrons. So, due to the presence of more than eight electrons on the central Cl atom, it has an extended octet.

ClI3 lewis structure formal charge

The minimum positive or negative charge that develops on atoms due to the loss and gain of an electron is called a formal charge. Let us discuss in brief the ClI3 formal charge.

Formal charge of ClI3 lewis structure is = (valence electrons – non-bonding electrons – ½ bonding electrons)

The detailed calculative explanation of ClI3 formal charge is given in the following table.

Atoms of ClI3
lewis structure
electrons on
Cl, and I
Non – bonding
electrons on
Cl, and I
electrons on
Cl, and I
The formal charge
on Cl, and I
Chlorine (Cl)
070406( 7 – 4 – 6 / 2 ) = 0
Iodine (I)
070602( 7 – 6 – 2 / 2 ) = 0
ClI3 lewis structure formal charge, Cl = 0, I = 0

ClI3 lewis structure shape

The fixation or arrangement of atoms of molecules in a definite or specific manner is called molecular shape. Let us discuss in some detail the ClI3 lewis structure shape.

The ClI3 lewis structure has T – shaped molecular structure and trigonal bipyramidal electron geometry. The central Cl atom of the ClI3 lewis structure gets attached to three iodine atoms with three single covalent sigma bonds forming three Cl – I bonds. It also contains two lone pairs of electrons.

Thus due to the presence of two lone pairs, there is the repulsion created between lone pair and bond pair electrons of ClI3 molecules. Also, it follows the AX3E2 generic formula of VSEPR theory thus with accord to it ClI3 forms T – shape and trigonal bipyramidal geometry.

ClI3 hybridization

The mixing of atomic orbitals of a molecule forming a new hybrid orbital having the same energy is called hybridization. Take a look at brief details of ClI3 hybridization.

The ClI3 lewis structure has sp3d hybridization of its central chlorine atom. The Cl atom contains steric number 5. The steric number of central Cl atom of ClI3 is determined as = number of bonds on Cl atom of ClI3 + lone pairs on Cl atom. Hence, central Cl atom contains steric number = 3 + 2 = 5.

In accordance with VSEPR theory, the species or compounds with steric number 5 contain sp3d hybridization. Therefore, for the ClI3 lewis structure, there is a mixing and overlapping of one ‘s’, three ‘p’, and one ‘d’ orbitals of central Cl atoms causing the formation of a new sp3d hybrid orbital with similar energy.

ClI3 lewis structure angle

The angular distance between two alternate bonds in a molecule or compound is called bond angle. Below is the deep detailed discussion on the ClI3 lewis structure bond angle.

The ClI3 lewis structure contains 900 and 1200 bond angles. The central Cl atoms have three covalent bonds joined to three iodine atoms. All three Cl – I bonds form two I – Cl – I bond angles of 90 degrees. Also, the central Cl atom contains two lone pair electrons due to its repulsion created.

Thus, two Cl – I bonds and one lone pair of electrons, also both lone pairs form a bond angle of 120 degrees within them. Also, ClI3 comes under the AX3E2 generic formula of the VSEPR module which confirms its 900 and 1200 bond angle. Here, A is the central Cl atom, X3 is bonded to 3 I atoms, and E2 is two lone pairs on the Cl atom.

Is ClI3 solid?

The compounds having a definite shape and tightly packed atoms of that compound are called solid compounds. Let us discuss some more details on whether ClI3 is solid or not.

ClI3 is not a solid compound. It does not exist in any form because the formation of ClI3 is quite difficult. Cl has a big atomic size and is more electronegative than I atoms. Thus, Cl can only gain electrons and cannot donate to the I atom. Cl does hybridization to form the ICl3 and not ClI3.

Is ClI3 soluble in water?

The capacity of a solute of any chemical compound to dissolve in water is called its solubility. Take a brief look at whether ClI3 is soluble in water or not.

The solubility of the ClI3 compound cannot determine. As the ClI3 compound is actually not available or exists in any form. Thus it cannot react with water or any other chemical substance. Thus, ClI3 does not show its solubility towards the water. Also, it is a polar compound and cannot dissolve in water.

Is ClI3 polar or nonpolar?

The polarity of a compound is determined by the electronegativity difference between atoms and their shape and electron distribution. Let us see whether ClI3 is polar or non-polar.

The ClI3 compound is polar in nature. The central Cl atom is more electronegative than the I atom. The electronegativity difference between Cl and I atoms is 0.5. It has a slightly polar nature due to the electronegativity difference values for polar bonds 0.5 to 0.9 explained by Pauling’s rule.

Why ClI3 is polar?

ClI3 is polar because it has an asymmetric arrangement of its atom and unequal distribution of electrons within the central Cl atom and outer 3 I atoms. It has two lone pairs on the central Cl atom and has trigonal bipyramidal geometry and the T –shape. It net dipole creates on it.

The central Cl atom pulls electron density towards itself. Hence, a partial negative charge develops on the central Cl atom and a partial positive charge develops on outer iodine atoms.

Is ClI3 molecular compound?

Molecular compounds are those compounds that have covalently bonded atoms and their formula shows the presence of small molecules. Let us see whether ClI3 is molecular or not.

ClI3 is a molecular compound. All the one Cl and three I atoms are covalently bonded to each other. It cannot form ions. Also, the molecular formula of the ClI3 compound denotes the presence of three iodine atoms in it. Thus, it shows the characteristics of being a molecular compound.

Is ClI3 acid or base?

The electron donor compounds are acids and electron acceptor compounds are bases. Below is a brief discussion on whether the ClI3 is an acid or a base.

ClI3 is a non–acidic and non–basic compound. It can act as an oxidizing agent and an inter–halogen compound. But ClI3 cannot exists due to more electronegative central chlorine atoms. Thus, due to the presence of all halogen elements, it has more electron affinity and acts as an oxidizing agent.

Why ClI3 is an oxidizing agent?

ClI3 can act as an oxidizing agent because of the surplus amount of electrons present in it. It has more electronegativity difference between both Cl and I halogen atoms and has polar covalent bonds. Thus it shows less dissociation energy with less polarity and effective overlapping in ClI3.

Is ClI3 electrolyte?

The compounds which get soluble in water and get ionized to conduct electricity are called electrolytes. Let us discuss some brief details on whether ClI3 is an electrolyte or not.

ClI3 compound does not act as an electrolyte. It is an inter-halogen compound formed due to a combination of two halogen atoms i.e. chlorine and iodine. These non-metallic halogen compounds cannot be soluble and ionize in water. Thus it cannot conduct electricity and are not an electrolyte.

Is ClI3 salt?

Salts are the solid crystalline form compounds formed due to the reaction between acid and base. Take a look at some more discussion on whether ClI3 is a salt or not.

ClI3 is not a salt compound. Basically, ClI3 cannot exists. Also, it is not the compound formed by the acid – base reaction. It can be a strong oxidizing agent due to its inter-halogen compound and more electrons present on it. It is not present in crystalline solid form and is not a salt.

Is ClI3 ionic or covalent?

The electrostatic force of attraction determines the ionic character of the compound and sigma bonds determine the covalent character. Let us see whether ClI3 is ionic or covalent.

ClI3 is a covalent compound due to the presence of three Cl – I sigma covalent bonds between chlorine and iodine atoms. These are strong bonds and cannot break easily. Thus ClI3 cannot form ions and does not show ionic nature. Hence ClI3 is a covalent compound.


ClI3 lewis structure contains 28 valence electrons and 11 lone pair electrons. It has complete octets of all 3 I atoms and an extended octet of the central Cl atom. It has zero formal charges on Cl and I atoms. ClI3 has T – shape and trigonal bipyramidal geometry with sp3d2 hybridization and 90-degree and 120-degree bond angles. It is an oxidizing agent, polar covalent, and insoluble in water.

Dr. Shruti Ramteke

Hello everyone I am Dr. Shruti M Ramteke, i did my Ph.D in chemistry. I have five years of teaching experience for 11-12 standard, B,Sc and MSc in chemistry subject. I have published total five research articles during Ph.D on my research work and i have fellowship from UGC for my Ph.D. My Masters with specilization Inorganic chemistry and my graduation with chemistry, zoology and environmental science subjects. thank You

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