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Dipole Chemistry

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Dipole Chemistry

Up until now, you have probably heard that water has many cool properties such as being polar, having cohesive and adhesive forces, and being a great solvent! But, what you ever heard about water being a dipole and wondered what exactly that means? If your answer is yes, you came to the right place!

  • First, we will talk about the definition of a dipole and how dipoles are formed.
  • Then, we will dive into the different types of dipoles in chemistry and give some examples.

Dipole Definition in Chemistry

Dipoles occur when electrons are shared unequally between atoms in the same molecule due to a high difference in the electronegativity of the atoms involved.

A dipole is a molecule or covalent bond that has a separation of charges.

Determination and Formation of a Dipole

The formation of a dipole depends on the polarity of a bond, which is determined by the difference in electronegativity between the two atoms involved in the bond.

Electronegativity is the ability of an atom to attract electrons to itself.

Types of Bonds

The three types of bonds you should be familiar with are non-polar covalent bonds, polar covalent bonds, and ionic bonds.

In non-polar covalent bonds, the electrons are equally shared between atoms. In polar covalent bonds, the electrons are shared unequally between atoms. In ionic bonds, the electrons are transferred.

  • In ionic bonds, there are no dipoles.
  • In polar covalent bonds, dipoles are always present.
  • Non-polar covalent bonds do have dipoles but they cancel out due to symmetry.

Predicting Bond Polarity

To determine whether a bond is nonpolar covalent, polar covalent, or ionic, we need to look at the electronegativity values of the atoms involved and calculate the difference between them.

  • If the difference in electronegativity is less than 0.4 → non-polar covalent bond
  • If the difference in electronegativity falls between 0.4 and 1.7 → polar covalent bond
  • If the difference in electronegativity is greater than 1.7 → ionic bond

The electronegativity values are given by Pauling's scale of electronegativity. In the periodic table below, we can see the electronegativity values for each element. Notice the trend here: electronegativity increases from left to right and decreases down a group.

Dipoles, Electronegativity Determination and formation of a dipole, StudySmarter

Periodic table showing Pauling's scale of electronegativity, Wikimedia Commons.

Let's look at an example!

Predict the type of bond polarity between the following atoms:

a) H and Br

H has an EN value of 2.20 and Br has an EN of 2.96. The electronegativity difference between these atoms is 0.76 so it would have a polar covalent bond.

b) Li and F

Li has an EN value of 0.98 and F has an EN of 3.98. The electronegativity difference is 3.00 so it would have an ionic bond.

c) I and I

I has an EN value of 2.66. The electronegativity difference is 0.00 so it would have a non-polar covalent bond.

Dipole Moment in Chemistry

To measure the separation of charges in a molecule we use dipole moment. Dipole moments are present in polar molecules that have asymmetric shapes because, in asymmetric shapes, the dipoles do not cancel out.

Dipole moment is referred to as a measurement of the magnitude of a dipole.

To show the dipole moment, we use arrows pointing toward the more electronegative element. For example, in the figure below we can see an HCl and an SO3 molecule.

  • In HCl, chlorine has a higher electronegativity value compared to hydrogen. So, the chlorine will have a partial negative charge and the hydrogen will have a partial positive charge. Since chlorine is more electronegative, the dipole arrow will point towards chlorine.
  • In SO3, the oxygen atom has an electronegativity value higher than that of the sulfur atoms. So, the sulfur atom will have a partial positive charge and the oxygen atoms will have a partial negative charge. In this molecule, the symmetry causes the dipoles to cancel each other out. So, SO3 has no dipole moment.

Dipole moment of a bond can be calculated by using the following equation: where is the magnitude of the partial charges δ+ and δ- , and is the distance vector between the two charges. You can think of the distance vector as an arrow with pointing to the more electron-negative element from the less electron negative one. Dipole moment is measured in Debye units (D). The bigger the dipole moment of the bond, the more polar the bond is.

A dipole moment of a molecule is the sum of the dipole moments of the bonds. This is why it is important that we are using vectors. Vectors have a property called directionality, meaning they point from somewhere to somewhere. You see if two vectors are equally long and point in the opposite direction ( + and -) their sum will be zero. So in theory, if the molecule is perfectly symmetric, meaning all vectors will add up to 0 the dipole moment of the whole molecule will be zero. Okay, let's take a look at an example.

You can learn more about the different molecular shapes by reading "Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) Theory.

Which of the following compounds has a dipole moment? PCl3 or PCl5?

First, we need to take a look at their lewis structures. If the structure is symmetrical, then the dipoles will cancel out and the compound will not have a dipole.

In PCl3, the bond is polar because of the difference in electronegativity between P and Cl atoms, and the presence of a lone pair of electrons gives PCl3 a tetrahedral structure.

On the other hand, PCl5 is considered non-polar because its symmetrical shape, which is trigonal bipyramidal, cancels the dipoles out.

Dipoles, Lewis diagrams of phosphorus trichloride and phosphorus pentachloride Examples of Dipole in Chemistry, StudySmarterLewis diagrams of phosphorus trichloride and phosphorus pentachloride, Isadora Santos, StudySmarter Originals.

If you need to go back and learn how to draw Lewis structures, check out "Lewis Diagrams".

Types of Dipole in Chemistry

The three types of dipole interactions you might encounter are called ion-dipole, dipole-dipole, and induced-dipole induced-dipole (London dispersion forces).

Ion-Dipole

An ion-dipole interaction occurs between an ion and a polar (dipole) molecule. The higher the ion charge, the stronger the ion-dipole attractive force is. An example of ion-dipole is sodium ion in water.

Dipoles, ion dipole forces holding sodium ion and water Types of dipoles in chemistry, StudySmarterIon-dipole forces holding sodium ion and water, StudySmarter

Another type of interaction involving ions is ion-induced dipole force. This interaction occurs when a charged ion induces a temporary dipole in a non-polar molecule. For example, Fe3+ can induce a temporary dipole in O2, giving rise to an ion-induced dipole interaction!

So what does it mean to induce a dipole? If you put an ion near a non-polar molecule, you can start affecting its electrons. For example, a positive ion will attract these electrons to the side on which the ion is. This will create a larger concentration of ions there and lead to a dipole forming on the originally non-polar molecule.

Dipole-Dipole

When two polar molecules possessing permanent dipoles are near each other, attractive forces called dipole-dipole interactions hold the molecules together. Dipole-dipole interactions are attractive forces that occur between the positive end of a polar molecular and the negative end of another polar molecule. A common example of dipole-dipole forces is seen between HCl molecules. In HCl, the partial positive H atoms get attracted to the partial negative Cl atoms of another molecule.

Dipoles, ion dipole-dipole forces between HCl molecules types of dipoles in chemistry, StudySmarterDipole-dipole forces between HCl molecules, StudySmarter Originals.

Hydrogen Bonding

A special type of dipole-dipole interaction is hydrogen bonding. Hydrogen bonding is an intermolecular force that occurs between the hydrogen atom covalently bonded to an N, O, or F and another molecule containing N, O, or F. For example, in water (H2O), the H atom covalently bonded to oxygen gets attracted to the oxygen of another water molecule, creating hydrogen bonding.

Dipoles, hydrogen bonding between water molecules types of dipoles in chemistry, StudySmarterHydrogen bonding between water molecules, StudySmarter Originals.

Dipole-induced Dipole forces

Dipole-induced dipole forces arise when a polar molecule with a permanent dipole induces a temporary dipole in a non-polar molecule. For example, dipole-induced dipole forces can hold molecules of HCl and He atoms together.

London dispersion forces

Induced-dipole Induced-dipole interactions are also known as London dispersion forces. This type of interaction is present in all molecules, but it is most important when dealing with non-polar molecules. London dispersion forces occur because of the random movement of electrons in the cloud of electrons. This movement produces a weak, temporary dipole moment! For example, London dispersion forces are the only type of attractive force holding F2 molecules together.

Examples of Dipoles in Chemistry

Now that you have a better understanding of what dipoles are, let's look at more examples! If the figure below you can see the structure of acetone. Acetone, C3H6O, is a polar molecular with a bond dipole.

Dipoles, Dipoles in Acetone Examples of Dipoles in Chemistry, StudySmarterDipoles in Acetone, Wikimedia Commons.

Another common example of a molecule containing dipoles is carbon tetrachloride, CCl4. Carbon tetrachloride is a non-polar molecule that contains polar bonds, and therefore, has dipoles present. However, the net dipole is zero due to its tetrahedral structure, where the bond dipoles directly oppose each other.

Dipoles, Structure of Carbon Tetrachloride Examples of Dipoles in Chemistry, StudySmarter Structure of Carbon Tetrachloride, StudySmarter Originals.

Let's look at one last example!

What is the net dipole moment in CO2?

CO2 is a linear molecule that has two C=O bond dipoles equal in magnitude but pointing in opposite directions. Therefore, the net dipole moment is zero.

Dipoles, Dipoles in Carbon Dioxide Examples of Dipoles in Chemistry, StudySmarterDipoles in Carbon Dioxide, StudySmarter Originals.

Dipoles can be a little intimidating, but once you get the hang of it you will find it simple!

Dipoles - Key takeaways

  • Dipoles occur when electrons are shared unequally between atoms due to a high difference in the electronegativity of the atoms involved.
  • A dipole moment is referred to as a measurement of the magnitude of a dipole.
  • Dipole moments are present in polar molecules that have asymmetric shapes because, in asymmetric shapes, the dipoles do not cancel out.
  • Types of dipoles include ion-dipole, dipole-dipole, and induced-dipole induced-dipole (London dispersion forces).

References:

Saunders, N. (2020). Supersimple Chemistry: The Ultimate Bitesize Study Guide. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Timberlake, K. C. (2019). Chemistry: An introduction to general, organic, and Biological Chemistry. New York, NY: Pearson.

Malone, L. J., Dolter, T. O., & Gentemann, S. (2013). Basic concepts of Chemistry (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Brown, T. L., LeMay, H. E., Bursten, B. E., Murphy, C. J., Woodward, P. M., Stoltzfus, M., & Lufaso, M. W. (2018). Chemistry: The central science (13th ed.). Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dipole Chemistry

Dipole moment can be calculated by using the following equation:  = Qr  where Q is the magnitude of the partial charges δ+ and δ- , and r is the distance between the two charges. 

The formation of a dipole depends on the polarity of a bond, which is determined by the difference in electronegativity between the two atoms involved in the bond.

Dipoles are caused when electrons are shared unequally between atoms due to a high difference in the electronegativity of the atoms involved.

Dipole moment is referred to as a measurement of the magnitude of a dipole.

A dipole is a molecule that has a separation of charges.

Final Dipole Chemistry Quiz

Question

A _____ is a molecule that has a separation of charges.

Show answer

Answer

Dipole

Show question

Question

True or false: Dipoles occur when electrons are shared unequally between atoms due to a high difference in the electronegativity of the atoms involved. 


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

The formation of a dipole depends on the polarity of a bond, which is determined by the difference in ______ between the two atoms involved in the bond.

Show answer

Answer

Electronegativity

Show question

Question

_____ is the ability of an atom to attract electrons to itself.

Show answer

Answer

Electronegativity

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Question

In ______ bonds, the electrons are equally shared between atoms.

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Answer

non-polar covalent

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Question

In ______, the electrons are shared unequally between atoms.

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Answer

polar covalent bonds

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Question

______ do not have dipoles because they cancel out due to symmetry.

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Answer

Non-polar covalent bonds

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Question

In polar covalent bonds, dipoles are _____ present.

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Answer

always

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Question

True or false: Electronegativity decreases from left to right and decreases down a group.

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Answer

False

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Question

If the difference in electronegativity is _____  then the molecule will a non-polar covalent bond

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Answer

less than 0.4

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Question

If the difference in electronegativity is ______ then the molecule will have a polar covalent bond

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Answer

between 0.4 and 1.7

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Question

If the difference in electronegativity is _____ then the molecule will have an ionic bond

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Answer

greater than 1.7

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Question

True or false: To measure the separation of charges in a molecule we use dipole moment

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

An ______interaction occurs between an ion and a polar (dipole) molecule

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Answer

 ion-dipole

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Question

_______ occurs when a charged ion induces a temporary dipole in a non-polar molecule.

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Answer

Ion-induced dipole

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Question

______ interactions are attractive forces that occur between the positive end of a polar molecular and the negative end of another polar molecule.

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Answer

Dipole-dipole

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Question

_______ is an intermolecular force that occurs between the hydrogen atom covalently bonded to an N, O, or F and another molecule containing N, O, or F.

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Answer

Hydrogen bonding

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Question

_______ forces arise when a polar molecule with a permanent dipole induces a temporary dipole in a non-polar molecule.

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Answer

Dipole-induced dipole

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Question

______ occur because of the random movement of electrons in the cloud of electrons. This movement produces a weak, temporary dipole moment.

Show answer

Answer

London dispersion forces

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Question

Dipole

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Answer

A dipole is a molecule with a separation of equal but opposite charges.

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Question

Which end of a dipole is most negative?

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Answer

The end with the most electronegative atom or with a lone pair of electrons

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Question

Which end of a dipole is most positive?

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Answer

The end with the atom with the lowest electronegativity.

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Question

What causes a dipole?

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Answer

A difference in electronegativities between two atoms in a molecule

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Question

Intermolecular Forces

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Answer

Forces that create weak bonds between different molecules

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Question

Dipole-Dipole Bond

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Answer

Intermolecular bond between two dipoles

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Question

Dipole-Induced Dipole Bond

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Answer

An intermolecular bond between a dipole and a nonpolar molecule 

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Question

Hydrogen Bonding

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Answer

An especially strong dipole-dipole bond with a hydrogen bound to a highly electronegative atom

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Question

What are the two criteria needed for hydrogen bonding?

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Answer

  1. A hydrogen must be bound to a highly electronegative atom such as Nitrogen, Fluorine, or Oxygen
  2. There must be a molecule with a lone pair of electrons to be attracted to

Show question

Question

Dipole-Ion Bond

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Answer

A fairly strong intermolecular bond between dipoles and ions, typically in a solution

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Question

What type of intermolecular bonding most commonly occurs within complex molecules?

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Answer

Mainly hydrogen bonding, it is responsible for the folding of proteins, carbs, and more

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Question

Induced Dipole

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Answer

An induced dipole is a temporary dipole created by a proximity to a charged permanent pole.

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Question

How does dipole bonding affect boiling & melting point?

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Answer

Stronger intermolecular bonds increase both boiling & melting point

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Question

How does dipole bonding affect evaporation and vapor pressure?

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Answer

Stronger intermolecular forces decrease evaporation rate and vapor pressure.

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