Step 1: Carbon (EN = 2.5) is less electronegative than oxygen (EN = 3.5) so carbon is the central atom.
Step 2: The total number of valence electrons present in CO2 is:
Group Valence Electrons
C 4A 1 × 4 e– = 4 e–
O 6A 2 × 6 e– = 12 e–
Total: 16 valence e–
Step 3: Fluorine only forms 1 bond.
The Lewis structure is:
Step 4: The electronegativity difference between C and O is 1.0 so the C–O bond is polar. Recall that dipole arrows point towards the more electronegative atom.
Step 5: We can see that dipole arrows point at opposite directions so they cancel out.
This means there is no net dipole in the molecule, making it nonpolar.
Therefore, CO2 is a polar molecule.
Explain why CO2 and CCl4 are both nonpolar even though they contain polar bonds.
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