Question #c1e73

1 Answer
May 22, 2016

Determine by the VSEPR theory.


The valence shell electron repulsion theory relies on the fact that electron pairs are negatively charged and would therefore stay as far apart as possible in space whilst still being attracted to the positively charged nucleus. The double bonds in the #CO_2# are electron domains and would therefore repel the two other double bonds. Thus for both pairs of double bonds to be as far apart as possible they must be on either side of the central carbon, therefore creating the linear shape.

The shape of other molecules can also be determined using the VSEPR theory. All bonds and non-bonded electron pairs will stay as far apart as possible. Though non-bonded electron pairs are usually stronger at repelling other electron domains than bonds.

It may be clearer to visualize the structure as shown below by molymods.

Bylikin, Sergey, Gary Horner, Brian Murphy, and David Tarcy. Chemistry: Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. Print.