Q:

What are examples of nonpolar molecules?

A:

There are many examples of nonpolar molecules, including carbon dioxide. The linear arrangement of the two oxygen atoms on either side of a carbon atom creates a molecule that has the same number of electrons at either end.

Oxygen molecules and nitrogen molecules are both diatomic gases. The atoms in each of these gases are identical, so one does not have a greater affinity for the electron than the other, resulting in a balanced, nonpolar molecule.

Boron trifloride includes a single boron atom with three fluorine atoms arranged in a planar molecule. Each of the fluorine atoms is 120 degrees from the next, resulting in a balanced, nonpolar atom.

A methane molecule is one carbon atom surrounded by four hydrogen atoms in a tetrahedron. This three dimensional molecule exhibits an electron balanced atom in a nonpolar arrangement.

Nonpolar molecules dissolve best in nonpolar solvents while polar molecules dissolve in polar solvents, such as water. The active ingredient in pepper spray is a nonpolar molecule. Attempting to wash away this spray using water is generally ineffective. However, adding soap or detergent to the water gives it the ability to dissolve the oils in the spray. It recommends using a tear free baby shampoo mixed with water to wash this nonpolar irritant from the eyes.


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