# Difference Between Electron Geometry and Molecular Geometry

• Post last modified:February 26, 2023
• Reading time:6 mins read
• Post category:Education

## Brief explanation of Electron Geometry and Molecular Geometry

Electron Geometry and Molecular Geometry topics are discussed below:

Electron geometry refers to the arrangement of electron pairs around the central atom in a molecule. This arrangement is determined by the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory, which predicts the geometry based on the number of electron pairs and their repulsion. The five possible electron geometries are linear, trigonal planar, tetrahedral, trigonal bipyramidal, and octahedral.

Molecular geometry, on the other hand, refers to the arrangement of atoms in a molecule, which is influenced by the electron pairs and the lone pairs of electrons on the central atom. The molecular geometry is determined by the number and arrangement of the bonding and non-bonding electron pairs around the central atom.

The possible molecular geometries include linear, bent, trigonal planar, trigonal pyramidal, tetrahedral, trigonal bipyramidal, and octahedral. The molecular geometry can be different from the electron geometry if there are non-bonding electron pairs present on the central atom, which can distort the shape of the molecule.

## Electron Geometry

Electron geometry refers to the arrangement of electron pairs around the central atom in a molecule. The electron geometry is determined by the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory, which predicts the geometry based on the number of electron pairs and their repulsion. According to VSEPR theory, electron pairs around the central atom will arrange themselves in a way that maximizes their distance from each other, minimizing electron pair repulsion.

The five possible electron geometries are:

1. Linear: When there are two electron pairs around the central atom, they will arrange themselves in a straight line, giving a linear electron geometry.
2. Trigonal Planar: When there are three electron pairs around the central atom, they will arrange themselves in a flat triangle, giving a trigonal planar electron geometry.
3. Tetrahedral: When there are four electron pairs around the central atom, they will arrange themselves in a three-dimensional tetrahedral shape, giving a tetrahedral electron geometry.
4. Trigonal Bipyramidal: When there are five electron pairs around the central atom, they will arrange themselves in a three-dimensional shape with two flat triangles on opposite sides, giving a trigonal bipyramidal electron geometry.
5. Octahedral: When there are six electron pairs around the central atom, they will arrange themselves in a three-dimensional shape with two flat squares on opposite sides, giving an octahedral electron geometry.

The electron geometry is important in determining the molecular geometry, which in turn affects the physical and chemical properties of the molecule.

## Molecular Geometry

Molecular geometry refers to the arrangement of atoms in a molecule, which is influenced by the electron pairs and the lone pairs of electrons on the central atom. The molecular geometry is determined by the number and arrangement of the bonding and non-bonding electron pairs around the central atom.

The possible molecular geometries include:

1. Linear: When there are two atoms and no lone pairs of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has a linear molecular geometry.
2. Bent: When there are two atoms and one or two lone pairs of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has a bent molecular geometry.
3. Trigonal Planar: When there are three atoms and no lone pairs of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has a trigonal planar molecular geometry.
4. Trigonal Pyramidal: When there are three atoms and one lone pair of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has a trigonal pyramidal molecular geometry.
5. Tetrahedral: When there are four atoms and no lone pairs of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has a tetrahedral molecular geometry.
6. Trigonal Bipyramidal: When there are five atoms and no lone pairs of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has a trigonal bipyramidal molecular geometry.
7. Octahedral: When there are six atoms and no lone pairs of electrons around the central atom, the molecule has an octahedral molecular geometry.

The molecular geometry can be different from the electron geometry if there are non-bonding electron pairs present on the central atom, which can distort the shape of the molecule. The molecular geometry is important in determining the polarity and reactivity of the molecule, which affects its interactions with other molecules in chemical reactions.

## Differences Between Electron Geometry and Molecular Geometry

The main differences between electron geometry and molecular geometry are:

1. Definition: Electron geometry refers to the arrangement of electron pairs around the central atom, while molecular geometry refers to the arrangement of atoms in a molecule.
2. Factors Considered: Electron geometry is determined solely by the number of electron pairs around the central atom and their repulsion, while molecular geometry is determined by the number and arrangement of bonding and non-bonding electron pairs around the central atom.
3. Impact on Properties: The electron geometry affects the overall shape of the molecule and the bond angles, while the molecular geometry determines the polarity and reactivity of the molecule.
4. Examples: For example, the electron geometry of a molecule with four electron pairs around the central atom is tetrahedral, while the molecular geometry can be tetrahedral, trigonal pyramidal, or bent, depending on whether there are four atoms or three atoms and a lone pair or two lone pairs, respectively.
5. Naming: Electron geometry is often named after the shape of the electron pairs, while molecular geometry is named after the shape of the atoms in the molecule.

Understanding the differences between electron geometry and molecular geometry is important in predicting the properties and behavior of molecules in chemical reactions. While electron geometry determines the overall shape of the molecule, molecular geometry provides more detailed information about the molecule’s polarity and reactivity, which are important factors in determining how it interacts with other molecules.

### Conclusion

Electron geometry and molecular geometry are two important concepts in chemistry that describe the arrangement of electron pairs and atoms in a molecule, respectively. Electron geometry is determined by the number of electron pairs around the central atom and their repulsion, while molecular geometry is determined by the number and arrangement of bonding and non-bonding electron pairs around the central atom.

Understanding the differences between electron geometry and molecular geometry is crucial in predicting the properties and behavior of molecules in chemical reactions, as the molecular geometry determines the molecule’s polarity and reactivity, while the electron geometry affects the overall shape of the molecule and the bond angles.