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QUESTION

# How many pi bonds are there in bf3?

The quick answer is, “There are no in "BF"_3”, but the answer isn't quite that simple.

You can write four Lewis structures for "BF"_3.

In one structure, the "B" atom has 3 single bonds to the "F" atoms and an incomplete octet.

The other three structures have double bonds to the "F" atoms.

Most texts say that the double bond structures do not occur, because they put a positive charge on the "F" atom and result in a separation of charge.

Therefore, "BF"_3 has no π bonds.

However, theory says that when you can write more than one Lewis structure for a molecule, the actual structure is a resonance hybrid of them all.

The double bonded structures may be minor contributors, but they still contribute a little bit.

In that sense, the "B-F" bonds have some π character.

Furthermore, the length of the "B-F" bonds is shorter than expected for single bonds.

This is consistent with some degree of π in "BF"_3.