Atoms and Molecules

Molecules and Chemical Bonds

What is polarity and how is it related to molecular structure?

Polarity is related to the symmetry of the arrangement of electron density in a molecule. Polar molecules are those which possess a net dipole moment, which means that the electron density is not symmetrically distributed in all directions. Nonpolar molecules have the electron density distributed in such a way that there is no net dipole moment. Typically this doesn’t mean that nonpolar molecules have their electron density distributed evenly over every part of the molecule, but rather that the dipole moments created by an unequal sharing of electrons in each individual bond cancel each other out, so that there is no net direction in which an asymmetry of electron density exists.


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