What is the molecular shape of methane (CH_4)?

Oct 13, 2016

Methane is a tetrahedral molecule.

Explanation:

The tetrahedron is a very common molecular shape, and is in fact one of the Platonic solids.

The tetrahedron derives from considerations of $\text{VSEPR}$, valence shell electron pair repulsion theory. There are 4 valence electrons on carbon, which form 4 bonds with the single valence electron of each hydrogen. Given four bonding orbitals around the central carbon, the tetrahedral shape the orbitals adopt is the geometry that minimizes interaction between the electron pairs.