What is the Lewis structure of HCOOH?


Quick Answer

The Lewis structure of HCOOH places the carbon atom at the center, surrounded by a single bond to a carbon and an oxygen atom, with a double bond to the remaining oxygen group. The single-bonded oxygen has a single bond to a hydrogen atom. There are an additional four electrons around each oxygen atom to account for those not used in bonding and to satisfy the octet rule for oxygen.

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Full Answer

Formic acid is the simplest of the group of organic acids known as carboxylic acids. The -COOH group is the carboxylic group and replaces one of the hydrogen atoms in hydrocarbons. While carboxylic acids have the similar -OH group of alcohols, the fact that the group bonds to a carbon group without any other hydrogen ions affects its chemical reactivity. Vinegar contains acetic acid, a carboxylic acid with two carbons. Citric acid, which is vitamin C, is a another carboxylic acid.

Manufacturers use formic acid as a food additive to prevent spoilage. European farmers add it to the foods they store for cattle. While it is safe for humans in small amounts, large amounts of formic acid created as the body processes methanol cause blindness. It has the potential to burn the skin and is the primary ingredient in the venom of ants.

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