Sulfuric Acid Lewis Structure: Drawing And Detailed Explanations


In this article, “sulfuric acid lewis structure”, drawing the lewis structure of sulfuric acid with detailed explanations are discussed below.

Sulfuric acid is an ionic compound with H+ and SO42- ion. Sulfur and oxygen have 8 and 16 electrons respectively. Among these electrons, only valance electrons or nonbonding electrons are shown around the respective atoms. Structure can also be determined from lewis dot structure.

Main focus of this article is to draw the lewis structure of sulfuric acid and analyse the steps of drawing.

What is Lewis Structure?

Lewis structure or lewis dot structure is one type of representation of any molecular species in a particular manner. In this representation, valance shell electrons paly a very important role to determine the structure. The nonbonded electrons (valance electrons do not participate in bond formation) are shown around the atoms.

The term “lewis dot structure” was first introduced by Gilbert. N. Lewis as he first wrote about this special representation in his article named as “The Atom and the Molecule” in the year of 1916.

Drawing lewis dot structure of any molecule carries a vast significance as it helps to determine the total number of covalent bonds present in any molecular species as well as the total number of nonbonded electron pairs. Not only that, formal charge of each and every atom present in the molecule can be calculated from lewis dot structure.

Methods of Drawing Lewis Structure

The process mentioned below must be followed to draw the lewis structure of any molecular species-

  • As valance electrons play significant role in lewis structure, total number of valance electrons must be determined first.
  • Determine the number of electrons required to fill the valance shell to achieve the nearest noble gas electron configuration or the electrons needed to gain eight electrons in its outer most shell for up to second period elements.
  • Total number of bonds (ionic or covalent) present in the molecule must be calculated.
  • Following the above process, skeletal representation of lewis dot structure is drawn showing the valance shell electrons around each of the species.

Let’s take an example to make it clear-

In the above lewis dot structure of water (H2O), the nonbonded electrons of oxygen are shown around oxygen atom. It has total eight electrons (1s2 2s2 2p4) and six valence electrons. Among these six outer most shell electrons, two electrons are used in covalent bond formation with two hydrogen atoms. Rest of the four electrons are shown as nonbonded electrons.

Hydrogen has only one electron (1s1) and this one electron is involved in the covalent bond with oxygen. Thus, no nonbonding electrons remain around two hydrogen atoms.

Sulfuric Acid Lewis Structure

Sulfuric acid known as oil of vitriol is a very strong ionogenic mineral acid having molar mass 98.079 g/mol and density 1.83 g/cm3.  Lewis dot structure of sulfuric acid is drawn and explained using the above described method below.

Sulfuric Acid Lewis Structure.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Sulfuric acid contains three types of atoms, sulfur, oxygen and hydrogen. Sulfur has 16 electrons with an electron configuration 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p4 and has six outer most shell electrons. Among these six electrons, all electrons are used in covalent bond formation with four oxygen atoms. Thus, no electrons are left as nonbonded electron pairs.

Oxygen has eight electrons with six valance electrons in each of the oxygen atoms. Among these six electrons, two electrons from each of the oxygen are used to form the bond with sulfur and hydrogen or doubly bonded with sulfur. Thus, four electrons in every oxygen atom are left as nonbonded electron pairs and shown around oxygen atoms. All atoms are electrically neutral and sulfuric acid as a whole it is a neutral molecule.

Formal Charge Calculation of Sulfuric Acid

Formal charge can be easily calculated from lewis dot skeletal structure and the formula is-

Sulfuric Acid.
  • Formal charge = Total number of valance electrons – number of electrons remain as nonbonded – (number of electrons involved in bond formation/2)
  • Formal charge of sulfur = 6 – 0 – (12/2) = 0
  • Formal charge of oxygen doubly bonded with sulfur = 6 – 4- (4/2) = 0
  • Formal charge of the oxygen singly bonded with sulfur and hydrogen = 6 – 4 – (4/2) = 0
  • Formal charge of hydrogen = 1– 0 – (2/2) = 0

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does sulfuric acid react with water?

Answer: Sulfuric acid reacts vigorously with water and generates a huge amount of heat. Thus, water cannot be poured directly into sulfuric acid. Acid should be added into water in a dropwise manner.

Can sulfuric acid conduct electricity?

Answer: Sulfuric acid is an ionic compound with H+ and SO42-. It can conduct electricity and break down into its constituent free mobile ions.

What are the uses of sulfuric acid?

Answer: Sulfuric acid has different uses in different aspect like in fertilizers, dyes, detergents inorganic salt and in petroleum refining.

Aditi Roy

Hi..I am Aditi Roy, I have completed my graduation from University of Calcutta and am pursuing M.Sc in Chemistry from Techno India University. My area of specialization is on Inorganic Chemistry.

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