What is the geometry of the methane molecule?

The simplest hydrocarbon , methane is a gas with a chemical formula of CH4 and a molecular weight of 16.04.

-------------->spin on -------->- spin off
------>space fill/cpk -------->stick ----> ball-and-stick

To Rotate the Molecule--->Left Click and Drag

To Zoom-->>Left Click + hold Shift button and Drag Vertically

Jsmol Menu --->>Right-Click

Try this!! 

Change to wireframe first:

Click on right mouse button over box

Style --> Schemes --> wireframe

Label atoms:

Style -->Label ---> atom number

To measure angles: hold left mouse bottom over atom and double click on atom 1, drag to second atom (center atom) single click center atom, drag and double click atom 3.

Measure the following angles:

<415, <512, <213, <314 

Below is shown the molecule Methane. 

methane molecule


What polyhedral stucture would you think the methane molecule best represents?  View the flash video below to see...

methane tetrahedron


methane molecule

About Methane:

Methane is a principal component of natural gas. When a single molecule of methane is burned in the presence of oxygen releases one molecule of CO2[carbon dioxide) and two molecules of H2O (water).

CH4 + 2O2 ---> CO2 + 2H2O 

The strength of the carbon hydrogen covalent bond in methane is among the strongest in all hydrocarbons.

Pure methane is odorless, but when used as a fuel it is usually mixed with small quantities of strongly-smelling sulfur compounds such as ethyl mercaptan to enable the detection of leaks.

Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 22 (meaning that it has 22 times the warming ability of carbon dioxide). Methane results from the decomposition of certain organic matters in the absence of oxygen. It is therefore also classified as a biogas.

Assessment -- Try these questions--

1) What is the measurement for any of the H-C-H angle to the closest tenth degree?

Please enter your answer in the space provided:


2) What is the measure of the C-H bond in methane?


3)How many faces does a tetrahedron have?


Multiple Choice Questions

1. At room temperature methane is a:
a) solid
c) gas
d)either a gas or liquid

2. When methane is burned in the presence of oxygen:
a) only oxygen is released
b) only carbon dioxide is released
c)pure carbon is formed
d) carbon dioxide and water are released

3. True or False -- Methane is a greenhouse gas
b) false

4. The molecular weight for methane is:
a) 32
b) 16
c) 18
d) 22

5. Which of the following statements is correct
a) methane is a principal component of natural gas
b)the atmosphere contains approximately 2% methane
c) methane is not considered a biogas
d) all of the above

Copyright ©MathMol 1996