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Thread: Carbon Monoxide?

  1. #1 Carbon Monoxide? 
    Forum Freshman
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    I have been trying everything and I can't figure out how carbon monoxide can exist. There is simply no way for the atoms to bond, except for one thing which I don't think is possible:

    Oxygen lends one electron to carbon, then they form a triple covalent bond.


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  3. #2  
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    Sep 2008
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    Hmmm, why don't you think it is possible? The simple answer is that the oxygen donates 4 of the 6 electrons needed for the triple bond and the carbon donates just two. This way they both have 8 valence electrons (6 in the bond, and a lone pair each). There is no reason that both atoms must donate an equal number of electrons to the bonding as far as I know.

    If that still doesn't feel right, that is probably because the reality of the bonding is much more complex than this, and is best described using complex quantum mechanical models. Counting valence electrons and the such is just an technique that chemists use that generally gives the right answer, but doesn't tell us what is really going on.


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