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Resonance

Use of two or more Lewis structures to represent covalent bonding in a molecule

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"Real" Life Resonance

What does resonance relate to?

You wake up in Atlantis, a fictional world, and see a creature that you have never seen before: a hippogryph. You need to find a way to describe this animal to someone else. A hippogryph is half horse and half eagle, so these two animals create the hippogryph. 

Credit: Benny Mazur
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benimoto/3256351965/lightbox/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A hippogryph: half horse and half eagle [Figure1]

In Atlantis, the horse and eagle are not real while the hippogryph is. This is similar to resonance forms, as the forms themselves are not real or isolable but they combine to create the overall electronic structures of molecules. The multiple forms are called resonance contributers, creating the weighted resonance hybrid which is a combination of the forms. Additionally, it is important to remember that resonance forms are not in equilibrium with each other. They confirm that the electron densities of given molecules are accurate since multiple bonds and forms may leave room for error.

Creative Applications

  1. What is the greatest number of possible resonance structures for any molecule.
  2. Write the Lewis structure(s) with resonance in mind for NO3-
  3. What branch of chemistry is resonance involved with?
  4. Describe major and minor resonance contributors and resonance stabilization. (use the first resource if necessary)
  5. What is the curved arrow formalism? (use the second resource link if necessary)

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Benny Mazur; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benimoto/3256351965/lightbox/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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