Problem: Which of the molecules have net dipole moments (are polar)?a. XeCl2b. ICl3c. TeF4d. PCl5e. ICl5 f. XeCl4 g. SeCl6

FREE Expert Solution

Dipole moments or polarity happens in molecules when there is an unequal sharing of electrons. For these molecules, both molecular shape and bond polarity can affect their overall polarity. 

When the central element has no lone pairs and has the same surrounding elements then usually the molecule is nonpolar.

There are 3 cases when a molecule is non-polar:

1. Molecular shapes that are seen as perfect (symmetrical) will be non-polar if the surrounding elements are the same. These are:


AX3-trigonal planar


AX5-trigonal bipyramidal



AX4E2- square planar

2. The compound has only carbons and hydrogens

3. A non-metal is by itself or connected to copies of itself.

When the central element has lone pairs then we must use element dipole arrows and lone pair dipole arrows to determine polarity. 

Element dipole arrows point towards the more electronegative atom while lone pair dipole arrows point towards the lone pair.

All the compounds have electronegative atoms. Let us then look at the structures and check if polar bonds cancel out.

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Problem Details

Which of the molecules have net dipole moments (are polar)?

a. XeCl2

b. ICl3

c. TeF4

d. PCl5

e. ICl5 

f. XeCl4 

g. SeCl6

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Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Molecular Polarity concept. You can view video lessons to learn Molecular Polarity. Or if you need more Molecular Polarity practice, you can also practice Molecular Polarity practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Tate's class at CSUSB.

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Our data indicates that this problem or a close variation was asked in Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition. You can also practice Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition practice problems.