Ligand Close Packing and the Geometry of the Fluorides of the Nonmetals of Periods 3, 4, and 5
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This paper discusses the geometry of the fluorides of the nonmetals of periods 3, 4, and 5 in terms of the ligand close packing (LCP) model according to which molecular geometry is determined primarily by ligand-ligand repulsions (Pauli closed shell repulsions) rather than by the bonding and lone pair Pauli repulsions of the VSEPR model. The LCP model becomes the dominant factor in determing geometry when the ligands are sufficiently crowded that they may be regarded as essentially incompressible. Ligand close packing is a modification of the VSEPR model in which ligand-ligand repulsion (Pauli closed shell repulsion) is given more emphasis than bonding and nonbonding electron pair Pauli repulsion. The nonmetals of period 3 are large enough to form octahedral six coordinated molecules in which the ligands are close packed. The larger nonmetals of period 4 also have a maximum coordination number of six and an octahedral geometry although the ligands are not close packed. Ligand radii derived from the interligand distances in the molecules of period 3 depend only on the charge of the fluorine ligands and are consistent with the previously derived radii obtained from the fluorides of the close packed tetrahedral molecules of the period 2 elements. Although the ligands in the molecules of the period 4 nonmetals are not close packed, these elements are not large enough to form molecules with a higher coordination number. However, the larger period 5 nonmetals may have coordination numbers of seven and eight. The seven coordinated molecules have a pentagonal bipyramidal geometry in which the equatorial ligands are close packed. The eight coordinated molecules have a square antiprism geometry, which is not a close packed geometry although the fluorine interligand distances are only a little larger than expected for close packing. The difference between the axial and equatorial bond lengths in the trigonal bipyramidal pentafluorides and the pentagonal bipyramidal pentafluorides can be understood on the basis of ligand close packing. Ligand packing prevents the lone pair in AF(6)E molecules from fully entering the valence shell and thereby exerting its full stereochemical effect so that these molecules have a C(3)(v)() distorted octahedral geometry rather than a geometry based on pentagonal bipyramidal seven coordination.
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