Is Water a Polar Molecule?


Quick Answer

Water is a polar molecule because it possesses a negative point and a positive point in its structure as opposed to a consistent charge throughout. Some other examples of polar molecules are ammonia, sugars and hydrogen fluoride. Polar molecules are defined by having both a negative charge and a positive charge, much like that of a magnet. Molecular polarity is the cause of many chemical phenomena, such as surface tension.

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Full Answer

Polar molecules can possess a stronger positive or negative charge than the other charge, due to atoms not attracting each other with equal force. This results in molecules that can be completely nonpolar, or completely polar. Nonpolar molecules are those molecules with a polarity of zero, where electronegative charge is balanced throughout the molecule. Polar molecules have an unbalanced charge, resulting in a more positive or negative polar molecule. In essence, what determines a polar molecule is whether electrons are shared evenly between its components.

Some examples of nonpolar molecules are methane and boron trifluoride. These molecules have no dipole; that is, they have an evenly distributed charge throughout the molecule.

Some molecules are hybrids that possess both polar and nonpolar charges. These substances are commonly used as surfactants, which are substances that reduce surface tension between two substances. Detergents and foaming agents can contain surfactants.

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