Q:

What is a polar molecule?

A:

Quick Answer

A polar molecule is a particle consisting of two or more covalently bonded atoms with an asymmetric distribution of charges. This occurs in molecules that are asymmetric along at least one axis when one side contains atoms with a greater electronegativity than the other side. This results in shared electrons spending more time on the side with greater electronegativity, causing that side to have a greater negative charge most of the time.

Know More

Full Answer

One of the most familiar and common polar molecules on Earth is water. In water, two hydrogen atoms are bonded to one oxygen atom. However, the hydrogen atoms bond at an angle less than 180 degrees, resulting in an oxygen side and a hydrogen side of each molecule. The oxygen atom has a greater electronegativity than the hydrogen atoms and so receives a greater share of the molecule's shared electrons. This means that the hydrogen side is more positively charged than the oxygen side. Water molecules in close proximity will tend to align next to each other with each oxygen side facing the hydrogen side of another because of these opposite charges. Any polar molecule will tend to act in the same way. When water or a similar polar compound freezes, the crystal lattice it forms always tends to give maximal exposure of each positive side to adjacent negative sides.

Learn more about Atoms & Molecules

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Is XeF4 polar?

    A:

    Xenon Tetraflouride, or XeF4, is a not a polar molecule. XeF4's geometric structure and symmetry causes the intramolecular forces within the molecule to cancel out, making XeF4 a non-polar molecule.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is NCl3 polar?

    A:

    NCl3 is a slightly polar molecule. This is because nitrogen has a lone pair of electrons that repels the bonded electron pairs of the N-Cl covalent bonds, thus giving the molecule an asymmetric structure where the polarities of the bonds do not cancel each other out.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is BrF5 polar?

    A:

    BrF5 or bromine pentafluoride is a polar molecule. The molecular geometry of BrF5 is square pyramidal with an asymmetric charge distribution. The molecule has a central bromine atom that is surrounded by five fluorides and a lone pair of electrons.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is COCl2 polar?

    A:

    COCl2 is a polar molecule because the dipole between the carbon and the chlorine atoms is not equal to the dipole between the carbon and oxygen atoms. Molecules are only non-polar if they contain no polar bonds or if the partial charges cancel out each other.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore