# What is the angle between the carbon-chlorine bonds in the phosgene (COCl_2), molecule?

Nov 24, 2016

$\angle O - C - C l$ $\cong$ ${120}^{\circ}$

The central carbon is $s {p}_{2} - \text{hybridized........}$

#### Explanation:

And thus $\angle C l - C - C l$ and $\angle O - C - C l$ $\cong$ are ${120}^{\circ}$ to a first approximation.

Why this value? We look to $\text{VSEPR theory}$. There are 3 regions of electron density around the central carbon, and the most stable geometry is a trigonal plane. While there is a $\text{carbonyl}$ group, i.e. a $C = O$ bond, the $\pi$ bond is conceived to lie above and below this trigonal plane.

The $\text{carbonyl oxygen}$ is likewise conceived to be $s {p}_{2} \text{-hybridized}$, however, here, there are 2 lone pairs on the oxygen centre.