PCl4+ Lewis Structure & Characteristics: 15 Complete Facts

Notation of valence electrons of any molecule in the form of lines (bonds) and dots (electrons) is known as lewis’s structure. Let us discuss the PCl4+ lewis structure.

PCl4+ lewis structure contains both non – metallic elements, one phosphorous atom, and four chlorine atoms. The P atom is being central atom due to its low electronegativity to the chlorine atom. Central phosphorous atom bonded to 4 chlorine atoms with 4 single sigma covalent bonds denoted as lines.

PCl4+ is a formula for phosphorous tetrafluoride cation. Leftover unshared valence electrons get placed on four Cl atoms as lone pairs denoted as dots. PCl4+ lost an electron due to which the positive (+1) charge develops on it. Here we are discussing valence electrons, lone pairs, shape, hybridization of PCl4+ lewis structure, and more characteristics.

How to draw the PCl4+ lewis structure?

To draw any lewis structure, there is a need to follow some rules or steps which are given below.

The valence of electrons and Bonding of atoms:

Evaluate the total valence electrons of the PCl4+ lewis structure by adding the valence electrons on P and Cl atoms. Later, make bonding within all P and Cl atoms with single covalent bonds.

Lone pairs and Octet rule:

The remaining unshared valence electrons after bonding are put on all bonded Cl atoms which are considered as lone pair electrons note them. Find the incomplete or complete octets of both P and Cl atoms by applying the octet rule on the.

Calculate formal charge and find shape:

There is a formula to calculate the formal charge by using it to calculate the formal charge of PCl4+ cation. Also find the shape, hybridization, and bond angle of the PCl4+ lewis structure.

PCl4+ lewis structure

PCl4+ valence electrons

Electrons available on the outermost shell or orbital of any atom or molecule are known as valence electrons. Take a look at the description of PCl4+ valence electrons.

PCl4+ lewis structure contains 32 total valence electrons. Phosphorous and chlorine atoms have 5 and 7 valence electrons respectively. As both the P and Cl atoms belong to the 15th and 17th groups in the periodic table. Thus valence shell electronic configuration of P is 3s2, 3p3 and Cl is 3s2, 3p5.

The calculative part of PCl4+ lewis structure valence electrons is given below.

  • Valence electrons on central P and bonded Cl atoms is = 5 + ( 7 x 4 ) = 33
  • Deduct one electron due to loss of electrons or +1 charge on PCl4+ ion = – 01
  • Total valence electrons on PCl4+ lewis structure is = 33 – 1 = 32
  • Total electron pairs find by dividing valence electrons on PCl4+ by 2 = 32 / 2 = 16
  • Thus, the PCl4+ lewis structure has 32 valence electrons and 16 electron pairs.

PCl4+ lewis structure lone pair

Unshared valence electrons on any molecule on pairing are considered lone pair electrons. Let us discuss more details on PCl4+ lewis structure lone pair electrons.

PCl4+ lewis structure has a total of 12 lone pair electrons. It contains a total of 32 valence electrons. From them, 08 valence electrons are bonding electrons as it forms 4 P – Cl covalent sigma bonds.  24 remaining unshared electrons are 12 lone pair electrons on PCl4+ cation.

Each chlorine atom of PCl4+ cation has 6 unshared (non – bonding) electrons. Thus all four chlorine atoms have three sets of lone pairs of electrons. The central P atom has zero lone pairs.

PCl4+ lewis structure octet rule

The presence of 8 electrons in the outer shell of an atom makes it a stable form of structure explained by the octet rule. Let us discuss on PCl4+ lewis structure octet rule.

PCl4+ lewis structure has complete octets of all P and Cl atoms present in it. The central P atom is surrounded by 8 electrons which are bond pairs formed by four covalent bonds. Thus due to the presence of 8 electrons around the P atom, it shows a complete octet.

The bonded 4 Cl atoms contain 2 bonding electrons and 6 unshared (non – bonding) electrons each. Thus each Cl atom is surrounded by a total of 8 electrons i.e. 2 B.E + 6 N.B.E = 8 E. Hence, all the bonded Cl atoms also show a complete octet.

PCl4+ lewis structure formal charge

The formation of a positive or negative charge due to the loss or gain of the electron is known as a formal charge. Let us discuss in detail the PCl4+ formal charge.

Formal charge of PCl4+ lewis structure is = (valence electrons – non-bonding electrons – ½ bonding electrons)

Below is the calculative part of the PCl4+ lewis structure formal charge.

Atoms of
lewis structure
electrons on
P and Cl
Non – bonding
on P and Cl
on P and Cl
formal charge
on P and Cl
Phosphorous (P) atom050008( 5 – 0 – 8 / 2 ) = + 1
Chlorine (Cl) atom070602( 7 – 6 – 2 / 2 ) = 0
The formal charge of PCl4+ lewis structure, P = + 1, Cl = 0

PCl4+ lewis structure resonance

Various structures formed within the same compound by moving electrons and changing bonding is resonance structure. Take a look at the PCl4+ resonance structure.

PCl4+ lewis structure does not show any resonance structures. As it does not obey resonance rules. Due to the lack of multiple bonds in PCl4+ and the presence of a complete octet, electron movement is not possible in it. Thus it cannot form any resonance structure.

PCl4+ lewis structure shape

The arrangement of atoms in a molecule as per the bonding and repulsion of lone pair electrons forms a particular shape. Let us discuss PCl4+ lewis structure shape.

PCl4+ cation has a tetrahedral shape. According to VSEPR theory, the PCl4+ ion has a central P atom with no lone pair and is attached with 4 Cl atoms, and has an AX4 generic formula. Thus the 4 Cl atoms are at the corners of regular tetrahedrons.


The mixing of atomic orbitals of the same atoms forming a new hybrid orbital with similar energy is called hybridization. Below is the discussion on PCl4+ hybridization.

PCl4+ ion has sp3 hybridized central phosphorous atom. VSEPR theory describes that a molecule like PCl4+ with tetrahedral geometry has a central atom with steric number 4 having sp3 hybridization. PCl4+ steric number = 4 Cl atoms bonded to P + zero lone pairs on P. Thus PCl4+ has steric number 4.

When there is a mixing and recasting of one ‘s’ and three ‘p’ orbitals of the central phosphorous atom, produces the new hybrid ‘sp3’ orbitals in the phosphorous atom with similar energy. Thus, the PCl4+ ion has sp3 or tetrahedral hybridization.

PCl4+ lewis structure angle

A gap between the two alternate bonds within the molecule forming a particular angle is known as the bond angle. Take a look at the brief discussion on the PCl4+ bond angle.

PCl4+ lewis structure has a bond angle of 109.50. The PCl4+ cation has four P – Cl covalent bonds forming a tetrahedron due to its tetrahedral geometry. Thus as suggested by the VSEPR theory module compounds with a tetrahedral shape like PCl4+ have a Cl – P – Cl bond angle of 109.50.

Is PCl4+ solid?

Compounds with the structural form having closely/tightly packed atoms in them are considered solid compounds. Let us discuss the solid nature of the PCl4+ ion solid nature.

PCl4+ is a solid cationic compound. It can occur in crystalline solid form and is stable in nature. It has closed packing of phosphorous and chlorine atoms in the tetrahedron unit of its tetrahedral shape or geometry which makes the PCl4+ ion a solid compound.

Why and how PCl4+ is solid?

PCl4+ ion is solid because it involves in the formation of solid PCl5 compound. The P atom of PCl4+ has a +5 oxidation state and occurs as a crystalline solid. When combined with PCl6- anion it produced P2Cl10. It is equivalent to the PCl5 compound which is solid at ordinary temperature.

Is PCl4+ soluble in water?

The maximum capacity of any compound (solute) to dissolve into a solvent is the solubility of that compound. Here we are discussing the solubility of PCl4+ cation.

PCl4+ is not soluble in water.  As it is a cation that further does not get ionized as positive or negative ions when added to water. It cannot form hydrogen bonds with water molecules. PCl4+ cation involves in the formation of PCl5 being water sensitive and gets soluble in water.

Is PCl4+ polar or nonpolar?

The distribution of electrons and electronegativity of atoms determines the polarity of the molecules. Let us have some discussion on PCl4+ polar or non – polar nature.

PCl4+ cation is non – polar in nature. There is an equal distribution of electrons within the PCl4+ ion. Thus electron density is equal on all central P and bonded 4 Cl atoms. Due to this, the dipoles cancel out each other. PCl4+ ion has no or zero dipole moment which shows it non – polar nature.

Why and how PCl4+ is nonpolar?

PCl4+ ion is nonpolar because its structure has a symmetrical arrangement of atoms. The central P atom is surrounded by all same atoms and has a similar electron density to all atoms. Also, its geometry is tetrahedral which confirms the symmetric arrangement and nonpolar nature of PCl4+cation.

Is PCl4+ a molecular compound?

The compound with covalently bonded atoms consisting of various small molecules in its structure is called a molecular compound. Let us discuss the PCl4+ molecular nature.

PCl4+ is not a molecular compound. It is an ionic compound due to the presence of a positive formal charge on it. It behaves as a cation. The structure of the PCl4+ ion has covalent bonds within the molecule but due to the loss of one electron, the +1 charge creates on it.

Why and how PCl4+ is ionic?

PCl4+ is an ionic compound. Because the PCl4+ cation is produced from the ionization of two PCl5 molecules. When two PCl5 molecules react with each other they undergo the ionization reaction and form PCl4+ cation and PCl6- anion. Thus PCl4+ is a cation confirmed by the following chemical reaction.

PCl5 + PCl5 → PCl4+ + PCl6-

Is PCl4+ acid or base?

The acidic and basic nature of any compound depends on its gain or loss of H+ ions or electrons. Here we are discussing on is PCl4+ an acidic or a basic compound.

PCl4+ is an acidic cation. It can accept electrons from another molecule to form a neutral compound. Acids are proton donors or electron acceptors. PCl4+ is a lewis acid due to its ability to accept electrons.

Why and how PCl4+ is lewis acid?

PCl4+ cation is a lewis acid. Because when phosphorous tetrachloride reacts with chloride ion, it can accept one electron from chloride ion (Cl-) ion and form a PCl5 compound. Thus in this conjugate acid – base reaction PCl4+ ion can behave as a lewis acid and Cl- act as a lewis base.

PCl4+ + Cl- → PCl5

Is PCl4+ electrolyte?

The compound which gets ionized on added to water and is able to conduct electricity is called electrolytes. Let us discuss on PCl4+ cation electrolytic nature.

PCl4+ is not an electrolyte. It is a cation that could not be further ionized by adding it to water. Thus it cannot conduct electricity. PCl4+ ion can form from the ionization of PCl5 when added to water. Thus here PCl5 can act as an electrolyte but PCl4+ ions do not act as an electrolyte.

Is PCl4+ salt?

The compounds formed due to the reaction between acid and base are called salts. Let us discuss some briefs on whether PCl4+ is salt or not.

PCl4+ ion is not a salt. PCl4+ is a simple ion that is a positively charged cation. It does not form due to acid – base reaction as the salt forms. PCl4+ ion is formed due to ionization of the PCl5 compound. Thus PCl4+ does not show any characteristic of salt.


PCl4+ lewis structure has 32 valence electrons and 12 lone pair electrons. It has complete octets of all P and Cl atoms. It has a +1 formal charge on the central P atom and zeroes formal charge on all 4 Cl atoms. It has a tetrahedral shape, sp3 hybridization of central P atoms, and a bond angle of 109.50. It is solid, ionic, lewis acid, non–polar, and non–electrolyte.

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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