Chem Explorers

Unveiling the Properties and Applications of Hydroxylamine

Organic compounds are essential components of life, and they play a significant role in biology, chemistry, and medicine. Organic molecules consist of certain structures or arrangements of atoms that interact with each other in predictable ways.

One such compound is hydroxylamine, which has a simple chemical formula NH2OH. In this article, we will explore the Lewis structure of NH2OH, its properties, and the role it plays in the world around us.

NH2OH Lewis Structure

Valence Electrons: Valence electrons are the electrons present in the outermost shell of an atom. In hydroxylamine, the nitrogen atom (N) contributes five valence electrons, and each hydrogen (H) has one valence electron.

The total valence electrons in NH2OH are seven. Center Atom: The nitrogen atom possesses the highest electronegative value (3.04) and serves as the center atom in the NH2OH Lewis structure.

Bonding and Lone Pair Electrons: In hydroxylamine, there are four covalent bonds, meaning that each hydrogen atom bonds with the nitrogen and shares its electrons. The nitrogen atom’s unshared electron forms a lone pair of electrons.

This lone pair contributes to NH2OH’s chemical properties, including its reactivity, stability, and bonding. Formal Charge: To determine the formal charge of each atom in NH2OH, calculate the number of electrons present in the neutral atom minus the number of electrons assigned to the atom in the Lewis structure.

The nitrogen atom has one lone pair and two bonds and, therefore, has a formal charge of +1. Each hydrogen atom has one bond and, therefore, has a formal charge of 0.

Shape and Bond Angle: The shape of NH2OH is bent, as one lone pair of electrons occupies more space than the four bonding electrons. The bond angle between the nitrogen-hydrogen bonds is around 107.9 degrees, determined by the electron repulsion of the lone pair.

Octet Rule and Lone Pairs: The octet rule states that atoms tend to gain, lose, or share electrons to achieve a stable electron configuration (eight electrons in their outermost shells). However, the nitrogen atom in NH2OH has only a single electron to share when bonded to three H atoms, having seven electrons and a lone pair.

Therefore, the nitrogen atom in NH2OH achieves stability with six electrons and one lone pair. Hybridization: Hybridization involves the mixing of atomic orbitals to create new hybrid orbitals that allow for the formation of more stable and strong chemical bonds.

In NH2OH, the nitrogen atom’s sp3 hybridization allows it to bond with three hydrogen atoms and have a single non-bonded pair of electrons.

NH2OH Properties

Physical State and Solubility: Hydroxylamine has a white crystalline powder appearance in its solid-state and is soluble in water, ethanol, and ether. Its boiling point is 56C, while its melting point is 33C.

Polarity and Molecular Compound: The NH2OH molecule is polar due to its bent shape and non-symmetrical electronegativity distribution. The nitrogen’s high electronegativity and loner pair of electrons give it partial negative charge, while the hydrogen atoms each have a partial positive charge.

NH2OH is an organic compound, meaning it contains a carbon atom in its structure. Acid-Base and Electrolyte Properties: Hydroxylamine, in its aqueous state, acts as a weak acid.

It donates a proton (H+) to the base forming a conjugate base. NH2OH is an electrolyte since it conducts electricity when in a solution.

Ionic/Covalent Nature: The NH2OH molecule consists of covalent bonding since it involves the sharing of electrons between the nitrogen and hydrogen atoms.


In conclusion, hydroxylamine is a critical component in organic chemistry, biology, and medicine. It has unique properties, including its bent shape, polarilty and lone pair, that contribute to its chemical reactivity and stability.

Additionally, NH2OH is soluble in water, acts as a weak acid, and conducts electricity when in a solution. Researchers continue to study NH2OH and its potential applications in industries such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and environment.

Hydroxylamine, with the chemical formula NH2OH, has several important chemical properties that make it a versatile substance for many different applications. Some interesting facts about hydroxylamine’s physical and chemical properties include its hygroscopic nature, decomposition, nucleophilicity, solubility in various solvents, resonance structure, and its ability to form salts and neutralization reactions.

Hygroscopic Nature and Decomposition: Hydroxylamine is a hygroscopic substance, meaning it can absorb water from the surrounding environment. It is also unstable in the presence of air, light, or heat, and it can decompose to form nitrogen gas, water, and other products.

Hydroxylamine must be stored in tightly sealed containers and kept away from sources of heat or light to prevent decomposition. Nucleophilic Reagent: Hydroxylamine is known to be a highly nucleophilic reagent.

Nucleophilicity refers to the ability of a molecule to share or donate a pair of electrons for bonding. Hydroxylamine participates in many different nucleophilic reactions, such as the addition of acyl halides and alkyl halides to form hydroxamic acids and oximes, respectively.

Solubility in Different Solvents: Hydroxylamine is soluble in water and is also known to dissolve in other polar solvents, including ethanol, methanol, and acetone. However, it is insoluble in non-polar solvents such as ether, benzene, and chloroform.

Resonance Structure: Hydroxylamine can form a resonance structure when the nitrogen atom donates its lone pair of electrons to the adjacent oxygen atom. This structure leads to an equivalent arrangement of atoms in the NH2OH molecule and contributes to its stability.

Solid and Melting Point: Hydroxylamine is a white crystalline solid that has a melting point of 33C. It is quite soluble in water, and even a small amount of water absorbed from the environment can cause it to become a liquid.

Polar and Nonpolar Molecules: Molecules are classified as polar or nonpolar depending on their electronegativity differences. A molecule is polar if the electronegativity difference between atoms in the molecule is high enough to cause an asymmetrical distribution of charges.

Hydroxylamine has a bent shape with a partially negatively charged nitrogen atom and partially positively charged hydrogen atoms, making it a polar molecule. Salts and Neutralization Reactions: Hydroxylamine has basic properties and can be used to form salts with both acids and metals.

When dissolved in water, hydroxylamine can undergo neutralization reactions to form salts such as hydroxylamine sulfate (NH3OH)2SO4, hydroxylamine hydrochloride (NH3OH)HCl, and hydroxylamine nitrate NH3OHNO3.


Overall, hydroxylamine is a versatile and important substance with various physical and chemical properties. It is a highly nucleophilic reagent, a polar molecule with a hygroscopic nature, decomposes easily, and plays a role in the formation of salts and neutralization reactions.

Researchers continue to discover new applications for hydroxylamine in industries such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and biochemistry. In conclusion, the article has highlighted the various properties, structures, and applications of hydroxylamine (NH2OH).

NH2OH is a polar molecule with a bent shape, and it is a highly nucleophilic reagent that forms salts and neutralization reactions. Some key takeaways from this article include the importance of NH2OH in various industries and fields of study, as well as its unique physical and chemical properties.


Q. What is hydroxylamine?

A. Hydroxylamine is an organic molecule with the chemical formula NH2OH.

Q. What are hydroxylamine’s properties?

A. NH2OH has a bent shape, is polar, highly nucleophilic, and has a hygroscopic nature.

Q. What are some applications of hydroxylamine?

A. Hydroxylamine has applications in various fields such as biochemistry, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.

Q. Can NH2OH form salts?

A. Yes, hydroxylamine can form salts with both acids and metals.

Q. Is hydroxylamine stable?

A. No, hydroxylamine is unstable in the presence of air, light, or heat, and it can decompose to form nitrogen gas, water, and other products.

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