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Finding Molecule angles with vectors

  1. Nov 13, 2004 #1
    I posted this in the chemistry section, but I was recommended up here. We have a molecule with three unbonded electon pairs, so they will repel each other as much as possible. That's easy, it's 360º/3 = 120º

    However, when we have four unbonded electron pairs the angle is 109.5º How?

    I figured there are four vectors:

    Vector A: (X1)i + (y1)j + (z1)k
    Vector B: (X2)i + (y2)j + (z2)k
    Vector C: (X3)i + (y3)j + (z3)k
    Vector D: (X4)i + (y4)j + (z4)k

    And if they repelled each other, it would simply be A + B + C + D = 0

    I am figuring setting up this further by dotting the vectors and dividing by the norm to get an algebraic quantity representing the angle. The sum of the angles around XY would be 360º, XZ would be 360º, YZ would be 360º

    Then squaring those individual XY, XZ, and YZ and taking the root of it to get 109.5º
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2004 #2
    Dare no one help?
  4. Nov 18, 2004 #3


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    The electron pairs will form a tetrahedron. Knowing that, you can find the angles using simple trigonometry. I'm in a bit of a hurry right now, but I can post details later if you want. :smile:
  5. Nov 18, 2004 #4
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