Multiple Bonds Summary and Practice Questions

Key Concepts and Summary

Multiple bonds consist of a σ bond located along the axis between two atoms and one or two π bonds. The σ bonds are usually formed by the overlap of hybridized atomic orbitals, while the π bonds are formed by the side-by-side overlap of unhybridized orbitals. Resonance occurs when there are multiple unhybridized orbitals with the appropriate alignment to overlap, so the placement of π bonds can vary.

The bond energy of a C–C single bond averages 347 kJ mol−1; that of a C≡C triple bond averages 839 kJ mol−1. Explain why the triple bond is not three times as strong as a single bond.

A triple bond consists of one σ bond and two π bonds. A σ bond is stronger than a π bond due to greater overlap.

For the carbonate ion, $CO_3^{2−}$, draw all of the resonance structures. Identify which orbitals overlap to create each bond.

A useful solvent that will dissolve salts as well as organic compounds is the compound acetonitrile, H3CCN. It is present in paint strippers.

(a) Write the Lewis structure for acetonitrile, and indicate the direction of the dipole moment in the molecule.

(b) Identify the hybrid orbitals used by the carbon atoms in the molecule to form σ bonds.

(c) Describe the atomic orbitals that form the π bonds in the molecule. Note that it is not necessary to hybridize the nitrogen atom.


(b) The terminal carbon atom uses sp3 hybrid orbitals, while the central carbon atom is sp hybridized.

(c) Each of the two π bonds is formed by overlap of a 2p orbital on carbon and a nitrogen 2p orbital.

For the molecule allene, H2C=C=CH2, give the hybridization of each carbon atom. Will the hydrogen atoms be in the same plane or perpendicular planes?

Identify the hybridization of the central atom in each of the following molecules and ions that contain multiple bonds:

(a) ClNO (N is the central atom)

(b) CS2

(c) Cl2CO (C is the central atom)

(d) Cl2SO (S is the central atom)

(e) SO2F2 (S is the central atom)

(f) XeO2F2 (Xe is the central atom)

(g) $ClOF_2^+$ (Cl is the central atom)

(a) sp2; (b) sp; (c) sp2; (d) sp3; (e) sp3; (f) sp3d; (g) sp3

Describe the molecular geometry and hybridization of the N, P, or S atoms in each of the following compounds.

(a) H3PO4, phosphoric acid, used in cola soft drinks

(b) NH4NO3, ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer and explosive

(c) S2Cl2, disulfur dichloride, used in vulcanizing rubber

(d) K4[O3POPO3], potassium pyrophosphate, an ingredient in some toothpastes

For each of the following molecules, indicate the hybridization requested and whether or not the electrons will be delocalized:

(a) ozone (O3) central O hybridization

(b) carbon dioxide (CO2) central C hybridization

(c) nitrogen dioxide (NO2) central N hybridization

(d) phosphate ion ($PO_4^{3−}$) central P hybridization

(a) sp2, delocalized; (b) sp, localized; (c) sp2, delocalized; (d) sp3, delocalized

For each of the following structures, determine the hybridization requested and whether the electrons will be delocalized:

(a) Hybridization of each carbon

(b) Hybridization of sulfur

(c) All atoms

Draw the orbital diagram for carbon in CO2 showing how many carbon atom electrons are in each orbital.


Each of the four electrons is in a separate orbital and overlaps with an electron on an oxygen atom.