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QUESTION

# What is the number of dots in the electron dot symbol of nitrogen?

In dinitrogen gas, N_2, there are 5 associated with each nitrogen atom.

N, Z=7, and thus 7 electrons associated with the neutral atom.

Two of these electrons are inner core, and do not participate in . The remaining 5 electrons are the , and 6 of these bind between the nitrogen nuclei together in forming chemical bonds.

Given that a single bond is composed of 2 electrons, the :N-=N: representation clearly shows the disposition of the 10 remaining electrons.

If we look at nitrogen , the simplest one is ammonia, :NH_3, which is (i) hard to make; and (ii) absolutely vital to agriculture. Nitrogen here is considered to be neutral because it has 2 electrons from its lone pair, and a half share of the 6 electrons that make up the 3xxN-H bonds. 5+2" inner shell electrons" balance the charge of the 7 protons in the nitrogen nucleus.

But nitrogen is a base, and has a formal lone pair, which is conceived to form a donative bond to H^+ in an acid base reaction:

NH_3(aq) + H_2O rightleftharpoons NH_4^+ + HO^-

The nitrogen centre is now quaternized, and is depicted with a formal positive charge (6 electrons rather than the 7 required for neutrality).