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What is the Structure of a Methane Molecule?

A carbon atom has 4 electrons in its outer shell.
Carbon is in group 4 of the periodic table.
A hydrogen atom has 1 electron in its outer shell.
Hydrogen can only form 1 bond.

Four hydrogen atoms will each share their
1 electron with carbon to form four covalent bonds
and make a methane molecule  (
CH4).

Methane Molecule showing Covalent Bonding Dot and Cross

The pairs of shared electrons between each
hydrogen atom and carbon
show single covalent bonds - see covalent bonding.

Methane is commonly represented by the structural formula

Methane Structural Formula

where the single lines between the atoms
represent single covalent bonds.

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