Gecl4 Lewis Structure, Characteristics: 17 Facts To Know

The colorless Germanium tetrachloride appears as a fuming liquid.

As a covalent compound, its boiling and melting point are low and is used as intermediate  for optical processes.

How to draw Gecl4 lewis structure?

With using the atomic symbols of Germanium and Chlorine, the GeCl4 lewis structure shows the covalent nature by distribution of the outer orbit electrons, spread around the particular atom in GeCl4 molecule.

In modern Periodic table the halogen atom Chlorine is in group 17 with electronic arrangement [Ne] 3s2 3p5 and Germanium atom contains its outer orbit electrons in 4s and 4p with filled 3d orbital, the arrangement is [Ar] 3d10 4s2 4p2 as a group 14 element.

Hence four Chlorine and Germanium jointly have 32 electrons means sixteen pairs of electrons for molecule formation as they are in the outer shell and can be energized easily for low attraction by the nucleus.

As penta-atomic molecule, have to choose the central atom, here Ge is for its electro-positivity which will be in center and the halogen atoms are written around it with dot sign of valence electrons.

Gecl4 lewis structure resonance

In GeCl4 lewis structure, Chlorine atoms have unshared electron, which can delocalize from the parent atom and form different resonating structure, among these, which have the ‘zero’ formal charge that would be the stable configuration.

Chlorine is more electronegative than the Germanium atom,creats a partial positive charge over the Germanium atom which also occupies vacant 4d orbital as a element of 4th period, so Pi (π) back bonding occurs i.e.3pπ (Cl) – 4dπ (Ge) in the molecule.

In the molecule Germanium has no unshared electron over it but for vacant orbital it has, the unshared electron of Chlorine atom can delocalize to that orbital and spread over two atoms which results in the formation of the partial pi (π) bonding in the molecule.

As the nonbonding electrons of the ligand, Chlorine atom involves in the bonding which is opposite to the normal electronic transition, it is called back bonding, produce resonating GeCl4 lewis structure.

Gecl4 lewis structure shape

Molecular geometry and shape are two slightly different things which we can clearly understand by the orbital hybridization of central atom of a covalent molecule, where central atom possesses lone pair that disturbs the geometry.

If there is no unshared electrons (so no steric repulsion) the geometry and shape of molecule becomes same which is in case of GeCl4 lewis structure as the geometry is tetrahedral (for sp3 hybridized central atom), the shape also be tetrahedral.

Gecl4 lewis structure formal charge

Formal charge is calculated for atom of molecule, to find the stable canonical form where it is assumed that equal distribution of bonding electron cloud in a covalent molecule with help of total valence electron, bonding and unshared electrons.

In the stable canonical form of GeCl4 lewis structure Ge has no unshared electrons, so the formal will be, (4- 0- 8/2) = 0 and with three pairs of unshared electrons the formal charge of Cl will be, (7- 6- 8/2) = 0; which indicates the energetic stability.

Gecl4 lewis structure angle

In the covalent type of bonding which is formed by hybridized orbital overlapping, the angle between such bonding electron cloud is measured, depends on the hybridization of the outer orbital of central atom which participated in bonding.

In the GeCl4 lewis structure the more electro-positive atom is Germanium whose 4s and 4p orbital intermixes, form sp3 hybridized orbital, so the atom has no unshared electrons which disturb the geometry by repulsion, make the bond angle accurate 109.5̊ as for sp3.

Gecl4 lewis structure octet rule

Eight electrons have to be distributed in the last filled orbit, wave functions of specific energy for satisfy the stabilization energy, known as Octet rule which stability naturally inert gases have, causes their inactive nature.

From the Periodic table we can say Ge have to transfer or accept four electrons which is very difficult where Cl needs one more electron to stabilize its configuration as a result Ge shares four electrons with four Cl atoms in GeCl4 lewis structure to satisfy the rule.

Gecl4 lewis structure lone pairs

Valence electron pair only spread over the parent atom and does not take part in the bond formation, makes higher electron cloud concentration of lone pair which causes steric repulsion and disturbs the geometry of a molecule.

From the hybridization we see the Germanium has no unshared electron as four valence electrons are hybridized to form bonding and for each of Cl atom of GeCl4 lewis structure they have six unshared electrons as one of 3p electron overlap with Ge sp3 orbital electron.

Gecl4 valence electrons

Valence electrons are the last shell containing electrons which are far apart from nucleus so energetically available for excitation in the chemical reaction as they loosely bound by nuclear force and if there is ‘d’ (diffused) orbital make more easy.

Being a ‘p’ block element of group 14 in 4th Period, Ge has two electrons in 4s and two in 4p whereas each Cl has seven electrons in 3s and 3p orbital, so total thirty two loosely bounded electrons of five atoms participated in molecule formation as valence electrons.

Gecl4 hybridization

Hybridization is the concept for central atom of covalent compounds where energetically not equivalent atomic orbitals intermix to form orbital with same energy so atomic hybrid orbital overlapping will become easier in molecule formation.

Being a ‘p’ group atom the central atom Germanium has four outer shell electron in 4s and 4p, while sharing these electrons for better overlapping the 4s and 4p orbitals mixes up, creating new hybrid orbital ‘sp3’ with new shape and energy than previous.

Gecl4 solubility

At a certain temperature GeCl4 solubility in any solvent is measured by the concentration which can be dissolved until the equilibrium occurs in the solution which is dependent on its nonpolar nature as well as having vacant d orbital.

Being a nonpolar molecule it easily dissolve in the solvents like benzene, ether, Chloroform, CCl4 as these are also nonpolar in nature, also slightly dissolve in dilute HCl or dilute H2SO4 for slightly electrolytic nature for metalloid Ge but not in concentrated one.

Is Gecl4 soluble in water?

GeCl4 is soluble in water as it readily hydrolyses in spite of being a covalent molecule, because of the two reasons; it is in period 4 with diffused ‘d’ orbital in group 14, makes it larger size and for ‘d’ orbital it can accept nucleophilic attack.

At the time of nuclephilic attack of water, it don’t have to face resist for large atomic size of Ge and ‘d’ orbital can extent coordination, so Ge-Cl bond breaks and Ge-hydroxyl bond forms with production of  GeCl3(OH) and Hydrochloride (HCl) acid as side product.

Inthe reaction further four HCl molecule releases from one GeCl4 molecule and GeO2 from as the product of the Hydrolysis reaction.

Is Gecl4 a strong electrolyte?

As Ge is metallloide in nature, show some semiconductor nature so GeCl4 lewis structure can be act as electrolyte sometime but not strong as metallic electrolytes.

Is Gecl4 acidic or basic?

Any molecule that release hydrogen ion (H+) in solution or accept electron is considered to be an acid. In the molecule GeCl4, germanium can bear electron from donor making it some acidic in nature.

For having vacant diffused 4d orbital it can bear nucleophilic attack by accepting electron pair and make coordination number higher.

Is Gecl4 polar or nonpolar?

In the Germanium chloride molecule, electro-negativity of Cl is 3.16 and that of Ge is 2.01 on the basis of Pauling scale, makes bond electron cloud pulling capability difference, results polar bond formation but for the highly symmetric nature the overall polarity of GeCl4 become zero.

If this electro-negativity difference is 0.4 or more than that a charge separation occurs in the bond, which results a polar bond (vector quantity) as Dipole moment (µ) can be calculated by multiplication of the separated charge (δ) and distance between charges (r) in the bond.

As Ge atom of GeCl4 lewis structure has no unshared electrons, so the geometry can’t be distorted by the steric effect of lone pair, makes it highly symmetric so that the dipole moment vector can cancel out each other and make GeCl4 non polar molecule.

gecl4 lewis structure
GeCl4 lewis structurte polarity

Is Gecl4 a lewis acid or base?

GeCl4 is a lewis acid as it can accept electron cloud from donor and extent it coordination for having ‘d’ orbital as it belongs to period 4 of Periodic table, while it possess partial positive charge as Chlorine is highly electronegative atom.

Ge has four outer orbit electrons distributed in 4s and 4p, so transfer of these can be a highly energy required process. Hence by sharing the electrons it tends to form molecule and for vacant 4d orbital it also accept electrons as a lewis acid.

Is Gecl4 linear?

The geometry and shape of GeCl4 is tetrahedral, not linear.


For having diffused vacant 4d orbital GeCl4 lewis structure shows some unexpected properties, different than its upper period element like Carbon.

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