Chem Explorers

Mastering the Lewis Structure and Electron Geometry of CH3NO2

Understanding the structure of chemicals is crucial in various fields, from medicine to engineering to environmental science. One of the essential tools in studying chemical structures is drawing the Lewis structure.

In this article, we will go over the process of drawing the Lewis structure of CH3NO2 as well as determining its electron geometry.

Drawing the Lewis Structure of CH3NO2

The Lewis structure is named after Gilbert Lewis, who first introduced the concept in 1916. It shows the arrangement of atoms, bonds, and lone pairs in a molecule.

The structure also helps determine the number of bond pairs, electron density regions, and lone pairs of electrons in a molecule. To start drawing the Lewis structure of CH3NO2, we first need to know its total valence electrons.

Carbon has four valence electrons, nitrogen has five valence electrons, oxygen has six valence electrons, while hydrogen has one valence electron. With one carbon, one nitrogen, two oxygen, and three hydrogen, the total number of valence electrons is 24 (4 + 5 + 6 + 3(1)).

Next, we choose the central atom. The central atom should be the most electronegative atom in the molecule.

In this case, carbon would be the central atom since nitrogen and oxygen have higher electronegativities. We then connect the outer atoms to the central carbon atom with bond pairs, representing electron density regions between atoms.

We then complete the duplet or octet of the outer atoms, making sure each atom has either two or eight electrons in its outermost shell. For oxygen, we need to add a lone pair since it has only six electrons, forming a double bond with the carbon atom.

The nitrogen atom also has one lone pair. Lastly, we complete the octet of the central carbon atom.

Since carbon has four valence electrons, it needs to form four single bonds to complete its octet. Doing so also completes the Lewis structure of CH3NO2.

To check the stability of the molecule, we use the concept of formal charges. The formal charge is the difference between the number of valence electrons of an atom in its neutral state and the number of electrons it has in the Lewis structure.

If the formal charges of each atom are zero or as small as possible, the molecule is stable. In CH3NO2, carbon has a formal charge of zero, nitrogen has a formal charge of -1, and the two oxygen atoms each have a formal charge of +1.

Electron Geometry of CH3NO2

The electron geometry refers to the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms in a molecule based on the number of electron domains. The electron domain is the total number of bond pairs and lone pairs around a central atom.

According to the valence shell electron pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory, atoms in a molecule prefer to minimize their repulsions, resulting in a specific molecular geometry. To determine the electron geometry of CH3NO2, we need to count the electron domains.

In CH3NO2, carbon has four electron domains: three single bonds and one lone pair. Nitrogen has four electron domains: one double bond, one single bond, and two lone pairs.

The two oxygen atoms each have three electron domains: one double bond and one lone pair. We then use this information to determine the hybridization of each atom and the bond angle.

After accounting for hybridization and bond angles, we can conclude that CH3NO2’s electron geometry is tetrahedral. The geometry also has a distorted trigonal pyramidal shape, with the lone pairs and bonds repelling each other.


Drawing the Lewis structure and determining the electron geometry of CH3NO2 are essential to understand the molecule’s properties and behavior. By following the steps mentioned, we can create molecules that are stable and predictable, which is critical in various scientific fields.

Whether you’re a student or a professional, understanding molecular structures is crucial. With this article’s information, you should have a better understanding of how to draw a Lewis structure and determine electron geometry.

Molecular Geometry or Shape of CH3NO2

Molecular geometry or shape refers to the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms in a molecule, taking into account the arrangement of electron pairs around the atoms. The shape of a molecule is determined by the number of lone pair electrons and bond pair electrons present in the molecule, as well as the bond angles between them.

To determine the molecular geometry or shape of CH3NO2, we need to take into account the lone pairs and bond pairs of electrons present in the molecule. As we have already discussed in the electron geometry section, carbon has four electron domains, nitrogen has four electron domains, and the two oxygen atoms each have three electron domains.

When it comes to the CH3NO2 molecule, the nitrogen atom has one double bond and one single bond, with two lone pairs. This gives the nitrogen atom a trigonal planar shape, while the two oxygen atoms have a bent or V-shape configuration.

The carbon atom has three single bonds and one lone pair, which gives it a tetrahedral shape with a trigonal pyramidal distortion. The bond angles between the atoms in CH3NO2 are helpful in determining the shape of the molecule.

The bond angle between the carbon, the nitrogen, and one of the oxygen atoms is around 103.3 degrees, while the angle between the nitrogen, the carbon, and the other oxygen atom is about 117.9 degrees. These angles are not perfect due to the presence of the lone pairs of electrons, which push the bonding pairs closer together.

Overall, the molecular geometry or shape of CH3NO2 is described as a distorted tetrahedral with two bent or V-shaped configurations.

Properties and Applications of CH3NO2

CH3NO2, also known as nitromethane, is a colorless, oily liquid that has a slightly sweet odor. It is used for various purposes, ranging from solvents to fuel additives, cleaning agents, and even explosives.

One of the distinctive properties of CH3NO2 is that it is highly flammable, just like most organic compounds. The boiling point of CH3NO2 is around 101 degrees Celsius, while its melting point is -29 degrees Celsius.

It is soluble in water, ethanol, and acetone, but it is not soluble in aliphatic hydrocarbons. In terms of applications, CH3NO2 has various uses in different industries.

In the industrial sector, nitromethane is used as a solvent and fuel additive, and it is also used in producing various organic chemicals. In the medical field, it is used in producing anesthetic compounds for dental procedures.

Additionally, nitromethane has applications in rocket fuel, explosives, and pyrotechnics due to its quick burn rate. However, like most chemicals, CH3NO2 comes with potential hazards as well.

One of the primary hazards of nitromethane is the risk of being highly explosive. It is recommended that nitromethane should be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space away from any combustible materials.

Nitromethane can also pose a health hazard for humans, as it is toxic when inhaled or ingested. Proper safety precautions and protective gear should always be worn when handling nitromethane.

Safety Precautions when Handling CH3NO2

When working with CH3NO2, it is important to take proper safety precautions to avoid potential harm to yourself or others. Some of the essential safety procedures to follow when working with nitromethane are:


Wear protective gear: when working with CH3NO2, always wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a respirator. 2.

Handle with care: nitromethane should be handled with extreme care. Avoid dropping or spilling it.

3. Store safely: store nitromethane in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from any combustible materials.

4. Avoid direct contact: avoid direct contact with nitromethane as it can cause skin irritation or harm.

5. Dispose of properly: If you need to dispose of nitromethane, follow the proper disposal procedures to avoid potential harm to the environment.

By following these safety precautions, you can reduce the risks when handling CH3NO2 and protect yourself and others from potential harm. This article covered the essential topics of drawing the Lewis structure, determining the electron geometry and molecular geometry, as well as properties, applications, hazards, and safety precautions when handling nitromethane (CH3NO2).

By carefully following the steps outlined in the article, scientists and engineers can create stable and predictable molecules that have numerous applications in various industries. It is crucial to take proper safety precautions when working with nitromethane, and diligent efforts must be made to store and dispose of it carefully to avoid any potential hazards.


1. What is the Lewis structure?

The Lewis structure is a method used to visualize the arrangement of atoms, bonds, and lone pairs in a molecule. 2.

How is electron geometry determined?

The electron geometry is determined by counting the total number of electron domains around the central atom in a molecule.

3. What is molecular geometry?

Molecular geometry deals with the spatial arrangement of atoms and lone pairs of electrons around a central atom in a molecule. 4.

What are the properties of CH3NO2?

The properties of CH3NO2 include being highly flammable, soluble in water, ethanol, and acetone, and toxic when inhaled or ingested.

5. What are the applications of CH3NO2?

CH3NO2 is used as a solvent, fuel additive, medical anesthetic, and in rocket fuel, explosives, and pyrotechnics. 6.

What are the hazards of CH3NO2?

The primary hazards of nitromethane are its high flammability, toxicity when inhaled or ingested, and the risk of being highly explosive.

7. What safety precautions should one take when handling CH3NO2?

One should wear protective gear, handle nitromethane with care, store it safely, avoid direct contact, and dispose of it properly.

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