Problem: Is the molecule SF4 polar or non-polar?

FREE Expert Solution

We are asked to determine is SF4 is polar or nonpolar molecule

To do so, we first need to do the following steps:

Step 1: Determine the central atom in the molecule.

Step 2: Calculate the total number of valence electrons present.

Step 3: Draw the Lewis structure for the molecule.

Step 4: Draw dipole arrows for each bond.

Step 5: Determine the polarity of the molecule.


Step 1Sulfur (EN = 2.5) is less electronegative than fluorine (EN = 4) so sulfur is the central atom

Step 2: The total number of valence electrons present in SF4 is:

            Group             Valence Electrons

S         6A                   1 × 6 e6 e

F         7A                   4 × 7 e28 e

 Total:  34 valence e

Step 3: Sulfur follows an expanded octet to form 4 bonds while halogens, when not the central atom, form only 1 bond. The Lewis structure is:

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Problem Details

Is the molecule SF4 polar or non-polar?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

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.