3. Chemical Bonding

Resonance in Chemical Bonding

There are molecules and ions for which drawing a single Lewis structure is not possible. For example, we can write two structures of O3.

In (A) the oxygen-oxygen bond on the left is a double bond and the oxygen-oxygen bond on the right is a single bond. In B the situation is just the opposite. The experiment shows, however, that the two bonds are identical.

Therefore neither structure A nor B can be correct. One of the bonding pairs in ozone is spread over the region of all three atoms rather than localized on a particular oxygen-oxygen bond. This delocalized bonding is a type of chemical bonding in which bonding pair of electrons are spread over a number of atoms rather than localized between two.

Structures (A) and (B) are called resonating or canonical structures and (C) is the resonance hybrid. This phenomenon is called resonance, a situation in which more than one canonical structure can be written for a species. The chemical activity of an atom is determined by the number of electrons in its valence shell. With the help of the concept of chemical bonding, one can define the structure of a compound and is used in many industries for manufacturing products in which the true structure cannot be written at all.

Some other examples:

Carbon-oxygen bond lengths in carboxylate ion are equal due to resonance.


Vinyl Chloride

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