As I understand, when an electric field is applied to an atom then the nucleus and electron cloud will be shifted out of balance giving rise to an electric dipole moment. Some molecules have permanent dipole moments though, e.g. Hydrogen Chloride, ". . . when a hydrogen chloride molecule is formed, the chemical bonding leads to a net shift of the electron cloud from the hydrogen atom to the chlorine atom . . .This leaves the hydrogen end of the molecule with a deficit of negative charge, and the chlorine end has an excess of negative charge . . . The result is a permanent electric dipole moment" I have only just scratched the surface of permanent dipoles in my study of electromagnetism, but if a molecule has a permanent electric dipole moment are there any physical properties that can be attributed to it when on a grand scale. i.e. does it make it more slippery, give it texture or . . . anything else. Idle curiosity from me but I'd love to know.