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Questions on polar and nonpolar molecules

  1. Nov 22, 2009 #1
    Some chem students need help with homework problems similar to these later this week. and I want to make sure I've got the concepts down before I try to explain anything. This is for introductory chemistry.

    1. Can a molecule have only nonpolar bonds and have a dipole?
    My first thought was no, that only molecules made of the same element have nonpolar bonds. As far as I can tell, this applies to diatomic molecules like F2 and not others like O3 after reading up on Wikipedia.
    Am I correct or is there an exception?

    2. a) Would you expect CH4 or CF4 molecules to have dipoles?
    b) Would you expect CH2F2 molecules to have dipoles?
    c) Explain
    Since fluorine is more electronegative than hydrogen, the "side" of the CH2F2 molecule with the fluorines will be slightly more negative than the "side" with hydrogens, making the molecule have dipoles.

    3. Why is the polarity of the covalent bonds in NaNO2 of little interest compared with that in a covalent molecule such as NO2?
    Not quite sure how to explain this one. The covalent bonds in NaNO2 are in the NO2- ion which has a -1 charge, while the NO2 molecule has no net charge. Is it that a net charge "overshadows" whatever polar covalent bonds may exist in something like NaNO2?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2009 #2


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    Think about ammonia.
  4. Nov 23, 2009 #3
    I would think the bonds between H and N in ammonia are polar with the hydrogens being slightly positive and nitrogen slightly negative. The textbook says that electrons shared between elements that are not the same are generally not shared equally. Is there a way to tell how equally electrons are shared by two such atoms?
  5. Nov 23, 2009 #4
  6. Nov 23, 2009 #5


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    OK. In ammonia, is the dipole due to the polar nature of the bonds or is it due to the non-bonded electron pair?
  7. Nov 23, 2009 #6
    Both I think: the lone pair causes a slight negative charge on the N, and nitrogen attracts electrons more than hydrogen, much like the oxygen in H2O.
    I see that it has a dipole, but not that its bonds are nonpolar.
  8. Nov 24, 2009 #7


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    Not clear to me. To BE dipoles - no. To HAVE dipoles in their internal structures, dipoles that cancel out - yes. Could be that's nitpicking, but question can be easily clarified by rewording.

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