Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is a Skeletal Structure? Share Flipboard Email Print ALFRED PASIEKA/Getty Images Science Chemistry Molecules Basics Chemical Laws Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated October 14, 2019 A skeletal structure is a graphical representation of the arrangement of atoms and bonds in a molecule. 2-D and 3-D Arrangements Skeletal structures are shown in two dimensions where element symbols are used for the atoms and solid lines to represent bonds between them. Multiple bonds are represented by multiple solid lines. Double bonds are shown with two lines and triple bonds are shown with three lines. Carbon atoms are implied when two bonds meet and no atom is listed. Hydrogen atoms are implied when the number of bonds is less than four on a carbon atom. Hydrogen atoms are shown if they are not bonded to a carbon atom. 3-D arrangements are represented by solid and hashed wedges. Solid wedges imply bonds coming towards the viewer and hashed wedges are bonds pointing away from the viewer.