Explain resonance with reference to a carbonate ion.
It is evident from the experimental results that all carbon-oxygen bonds in carbonate ions are equivalent. The actual structure of the molecules is said to be resonance hybrid, an average of these three resonance forms. It is important to note that carbonate ion does not change from one structure to another and vice versa. is not possible to picturise the resonance hybrid by drawing a single Lewis structure. However, the following structure gives a qualitative idea about the correct structure.
Resonance structure of CO32-
Resonance Hybrid structure of CO32-
It is found that the energy of the resonance hybrid (structure 4) is lower than that of all possible canonical structures (Structure 1, 2 & 3). The difference in energy between structure 1 or 2 or 3, (most stable canonical structure) and structure 4 (resonance hybrid) is called resonance energy.