Chemistry - Lewis Structure For H2SO4

As Jan mentions in the other answer, in general, a Lewis structure is preferred if it retains the octet rule. There can be more complicated bonding, and sulfur and phosphorous are two common examples (e.g., $\ce{SF6}$).

I find that many students can come up with "non-traditional" Lewis structures that, like yours, satisfy the number of valence electrons and minimize the formal charge. I usually consider these correct responses on an exam.

The "missing piece" is ring strain, which is not typically discussed until organic chemistry courses.

Note that your diagram as two O-S-O three-membered rings. These are extremely high in energy, because the O-O-S angle won't be anywhere near the expected 109.5°.

I tried a few quick calculations using the PM7 method and MOPAC. The best ring structure I could find looks like this (a distorted octahedral shape) and is estimated to have a $\Delta H_f^0$ = +33.05 kcal/mol. The O-O-S ring angles are ~65°.


The lowest energy geometry is the traditional $\ce{H2SO4}$ Lewis structure, estimated at $\Delta H_f^0$ = -177.88 kcal/mol. While PM7 isn't a highly accurate method, the difference in stability isn't close.