GeH4 Lewis Structure,Characteristics:15 Facts To Know

GeH4 is the chemical formula for the compound germane. Let us learn in detail the GeH4 lewis structure and important characteristics related to it.

GeH4 is the hydride of germanium. It is a colorless gas and has a strong odor. Germane has a tetrahedral geometry and shape. It occurs in the atmosphere of Jupiter and saturn. GeH4 has no unpaired electrons and is diamagnetic.

Germanium is placed in the group 14(carbon group) of the periodic table. Now we will discuss the lewis structure, resonance, shape, bond angles, solubility, and other important topics on GeH4.

How to draw GeH4 lewis structure?

Lewis structure represents how valence electrons are arranged in a molecule. The GeH4 lewis structure can be drawn by following the steps given below.

1. Identifying the central atom in a molecule

The central atom is the atom that is the least electronegative. Here, Germanium is the central atom; it is the least electronegative atom. The central atom is not always the least electronegative atom. Other ways are checking the atom which is least in number or the atom which can form multiple bonds.

2. Counting the valence electrons of each atom

Germanium has four valence electrons, and each hydrogen atom has one valence electron. Total valence electrons of GeH4 are 4 + 1*4 = 8.

3. Drawing the skeletal structure:

We will draw a single bond between germanium and each hydrogen atom and count the valence electrons of each atom. Germanium and hydrogen now have eight and two valence electrons, respectively completing the octet of each atom.All the valence electrons are utilized in the covalent bonds.

The GeH4 lewis structure is shown below:

geh4 lewis structure webp
GeH4 lewis structure

GeH4 lewis structure octet rule

In a molecule, atoms try to achieve eight electrons in its valence shell, this is the octet rule. Let us discuss the octet rule in case of GeH4.

As per the octet rule, Germanium has four electrons in its valence shell; it gains four more electrons to complete its octet, by forming covalent bonds with four hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen does follow the octet rule and needs only two electrons(not eight) in its valence shell to complete it.

Hydrogen has one valence electron. Each hydrogen atom present in GeH4 gains one electron by forming a covalent bond with germanium.Valence shell can be filled by sharing electrons(as seen in covalent bonds) or losing electrons(as seen in ionic bonding).

GeH4 lewis structure formal charge

Formal charge is a hypothetical charge that we assign to each atom by assuming that electrons in a covalent bond are shared equally. The formal charge of GeH4 is calculated below.

The formal charge of hydrogen and germanium in GeH4 is zero. The formal charge is not an actual representation as electrons are mostly not shared equally due to differences in electronegativities of atoms. The formal charge helps in determining the lewis structure with the lowest energy.

 The formal charge formula is:

Formal charge= V-1/2[B] -N; where V= Number of valence electrons on the free atom, B= total number of shared or bonded electrons, and N= total number of non-bonded or unshared electrons. Using the above formula, we will calculate the formal charge of hydrogen and germanium in GeH4.

      Atom           V            B          N Formal Charge
        Ge           4            8          0 4-1/2(8)-0=0
         H           1            2          0 1-1/2(2)-0=0
Formal Charge of GeH4

GeH4 hybridization

Two or more atomic orbitals combine or mix to produce orbitals of lower energy known as hybrid orbitals. The hybridization of GeH4 lewis structure is mentioned below.

The hybridization of GeH4 lewis structure is sp3.Germanium uses its 4s and 4p orbitals to produce two sp3 hybrid orbitals. One 4s orbital of germanium overlaps with its three 4p orbitals to form four sp3 orbitals.

The percentage s and p character in the sp3 orbitals are 25% and 75%, respectively.The electronic configuration of germanium in the ground state is 4s2 4p2. One electron from the 4s orbital is promoted to the 4p orbital via excitation, and the electronic configuration becomes 4s1 4p3.

GeH4 lewis structure shape

The bond pairs and lone pairs present on the central atom govern the shape of the molecule. Let us find out the shape of GeH4 lewis structure.

The shape of GeH4 is tetrahedral. There are four bonded electron pairs on germanium and zero lone pairs. The four sp3 hybrid orbitals of germanium arrange themselves along the corners of the tetrahedron.

GeH4 lewis structure angle

The tetrahedral bond angle is 109.5. Let us find out whether the bond angle in GeH4 has deviated from 109.5 or not.

The bond angle in GeH4 is 109.5. GeH4 has a tetrahedral geometry with zero lone pairs.Since there are no lone pairs on Ge in GeH4, there will be no deviation from the tetrahedral bond angle.

GeH4 lewis structure resonance

In some cases, one lewis structure is inadequate in describing the molecule and the concept resonance arises. Let us find out if resonance is valid in case of GeH4 or not.

In the GeH4 lewis structure, there is no resonance as only one lewis structure is possible. The average of the realistic lewis structures gives the actual structure of the molecule. These different lewis structures of a molecule are called resonance structures.

GeH4 lewis structure lone pairs

Let us calculate the lone pairs present on the central atom in GeH4 lewis structure.

There are no lone pairs present on germanium or hydrogen in this case. The total number of valence electrons in GeH4 is eight. All of these electrons participate in forming covalent bonds.

Is GeH4 linear?

Any molecule with a bond angle of 180 degrees will be linear. Let us find out if GeH4 is linear or not.

GeH4 is not linear. It is tetrahedral. The hybridization of germanium is sp3. The germanium-hydrogen bond angle is 109.5.

Is GeH4 paramagnetic or diamagnetic?

The interaction of a substance with an external magnetic field decides whether it is diamagnetic or paramagnetic.

GeH4 is diamagnetic as it has no unpaired electrons. Diamagnetic substances have no unpaired electrons. All electrons are paired, and the net magnetic moments are zero.

Paramagnetic substances have unpaired electrons(one or more), which results in a net magnetic moment. The unpaired electron will be attracted to the external magnetic field.

GeH4 Boiling point

The boiling point is where the vapor pressure of the substance becomes equal to the atmospheric pressure. Let us explore the boiling point of GeH4.

GeH4 has a boiling point of -88.9 degrees Celsius.

Is GeH4 a lewis acid or base?

A molecule or ion accepts an electron pair; it is called a Lewis acid; if it donates an electron pair it is called a Lewis base. Let us find out if GeH4 is a lewis base or acid.

Germanium act as a lewis acid, it has a vacant 4d orbital which it can use to accept a pair of electrons . GeH4 has four bond pairs and zero lone pairs and therefore cannot donate electrons or act as a lewis base.

Is GeH4 polar or non-polar?

Polarity in molecules depend on electronegativity difference and asymmetry. In GeH4, the central atom(geranium) is surrounded by the same atoms and the structure is symmetrical.

GeH4 is non-polar with covalently bonded atoms. It is symmetrical in shape, and the net dipole moment is zero. Germanium has a 2.01 electronegativity value, and hydrogen has 2.2. The electronegativity difference is negligible with a 0.19 value.

GeH4 solubility

The solubility of a substance depends on temperature, pressure among other factors.

The basic principle of solubility is “like dissolves like.” GeH4  is a non-polar gas and is insoluble in water-polar solvent. GeH4 is soluble in the following substances:

  • Hot Hydrochloric acid
  • Nitric acid

Is GeH4 a strong electrolyte?

An electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity when added to water. Let us discuss whether GeH4 is a strong electrolyte or not.

GeH4 is not a strong electrolyte as it does not contain any charged particles. It is a non-polar molecule. A strong electrolyte contains charged particles. These charged particles move freely when an external electric field is applied.


We learned about germane, its lewis structure, hybridization, structure, polarity, solubility, and many other important facts related to GeH4.

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