So you have seen the above image by now, right?
Let me explain the above image in short.
AlF3 lewis structure has an Aluminum atom (Al) at the center which is surrounded by three Fluorine atoms (F). There are 3 single bonds between the Aluminum atom (Al) and each Fluorine atom (F).
If you haven’t understood anything from the above image of AlF3 lewis structure, then just stick with me and you will get the detailed step by step explanation on drawing a lewis structure of AlF3.
So let’s move to the steps of drawing the lewis structure of AlF3.
Steps of drawing AlF3 lewis structure
Step 1: Find the total valence electrons in AlF3 molecule
In order to find the total valence electrons in an AlF3 molecule, first of all you should know the valence electrons present in aluminum atom as well as fluorine atom.
(Valence electrons are the electrons that are present in the outermost orbit of any atom.)
Here, I’ll tell you how you can easily find the valence electrons of aluminum as well as fluorine using a periodic table.
Total valence electrons in AlF3 molecule
→ Valence electrons given by aluminum atom:
Aluminum is a group 13 element on the periodic table.  Hence the valence electrons present in aluminum is 3.
You can see the 3 valence electrons present in the aluminum atom as shown in the above image.
→ Valence electrons given by fluorine atom:
Fluorine is group 17 element on the periodic table.  Hence the valence electron present in fluorine is 7.
You can see the 7 valence electrons present in the fluorine atom as shown in the above image.
Total valence electrons in AlF3 molecule = valence electrons given by 1 aluminum atom + valence electrons given by 3 fluorine atoms = 3 + 7(3) = 24.
Step 2: Select the central atom
For selecting the center atom, you have to remember that the atom which is less electronegative remains at the center.
Now here the given molecule is AlF3 and it contains aluminum atom (Al) and fluorine atoms (F).
You can see the electronegativity values of aluminum atom (Al) and fluorine atom (F) in the above periodic table.
If we compare the electronegativity values of aluminum (Al) and fluorine (F) then the aluminum atom is less electronegative.
So here the aluminum atom (Al) is the center atom and the fluorine atoms (F) are the outside atoms.
Step 3: Connect each atoms by putting an electron pair between them
Now in the AlF3 molecule, you have to put the electron pairs between the aluminum atom (Al) and fluorine atoms (F).
This indicates that the aluminum (Al) and fluorine (F) are chemically bonded with each other in a AlF3 molecule.
Step 4: Make the outer atoms stable
Now in this step, you have to check the stability of the outer atoms.
Here in the sketch of AlF3 molecule, you can see that the outer atoms are fluorine atoms.
These outer fluorine atoms are forming an octet and hence they are stable.
Also, in step 1 we have calculated the total number of valence electrons present in the AlF3 molecule.
The AlF3 molecule has a total 24 valence electrons and all these valence electrons are used in the above sketch of AlF3.
Hence there are no remaining electron pairs to be kept on the central atom.
So now let’s proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Check the stability of lewis structure
Now you have come to the final step in which you have to check the stability of lewis structure of AlF3.
The stability of lewis structure can be checked by using a concept of formal charge.
In short, now you have to find the formal charge on aluminum (Al) atom as well as fluorine (F) atoms present in the AlF3 molecule.
For calculating the formal charge, you have to use the following formula;
Formal charge = Valence electrons – (Bonding electrons)/2 – Nonbonding electrons
For Aluminum (Al) atom:
Valence electrons = 3 (because aluminum is in group 13)
Bonding electrons = 6
Nonbonding electrons = 0
For Fluorine (F) atom:
Valence electron = 7 (because fluorine is in group 17)
Bonding electrons = 2
Nonbonding electrons = 6
From the above calculations of formal charge, you can see that the aluminum (Al) atom as well as fluorine (F) atom has a “zero” formal charge.
This indicates that the above lewis structure of AlF3 is stable and there is no further change in the above structure of AlF3.
In the above lewis dot structure of AlF3, you can also represent each bonding electron pair (:) as a single bond (|). By doing so, you will get the following lewis structure of AlF3.
I hope you have completely understood all the above steps.
For more practice and better understanding, you can try other lewis structures listed below.
Try (or at least See) these lewis structures for better understanding:
|SeCl4 Lewis Structure
|HOF Lewis Structure
|XeO2F2 Lewis Structure
|XeH4 Lewis Structure
|S2Cl2 Lewis Structure
|N2O5 Lewis Structure
Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. He is a founder of Pediabay and is passionate about helping students through his easily digestible explanations.
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