What is the formal charge of N in #HNO_3#?

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anor277 Share
Feb 16, 2017

Answer:

Nitrogen has a formal +1 charge.

Explanation:

A reasonable Lewis structure is #H-O-N^+(=O)O^-#. One of the oxygen atoms has a formal negative charge, and the nitrogen atom is quaternized and bears a formal positive charge. Of course, the molecule is neutral, and the Lewis structure reflects this.

Note that when nitric acid dissociates:

#HNO_3(aq) + H_2O rarr H_3O^+ + NO_3^-#

There are 3 formal charges on the nitrate ion: #""^(-)O-N^+(=O)-O^-#. The overall charge on the ion is still #-1#, but there is again formal charge separation in our representation of the anion.

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