Is BrCl5 Polar or Nonpolar? (And Why?)

Is BrCl5 Polar or Nonpolar

BrCl5 is a POLAR molecule.

But why? 

And how can you say that BrCl5 is a polar molecule?

Want to know the reason?
Let’s dive into it!

BrCl5 is a POLAR molecule because it has a lone pair of electrons on the Bromine atom (Br) which causes the entire molecule to bend.
This bending of BrCl5 molecule results in asymmetric geometry, which makes the molecule polar.

Let me explain this in detail with the help of BrCl5 lewis structure and its 3D geometry.

Why is BrCl5 a Polar molecule? (Explained in 2 Steps)

To understand the polar nature of BrCl5 molecule, first of all you should know its lewis structure as well as its molecular geometry.

So let’s see this in the steps below.

Step #1: Draw the lewis structure

Here is a skeleton of BrCl5 lewis structure and it contains five Br-Cl bonds.

Is BrCl5 Polar or Nonpolar

(Note: If you want to know the steps of drawing the BrCl5 lewis dot structure, then visit this article: BrCl5 lewis structure, Or you can also watch this short 2 minute video).

So from the above diagram we have come to know that the BrCl5 molecule has five Br-Cl bonds.

Now in the next step we have to check whether these five Br-Cl bonds are polar or nonpolar.

And we also have to check the molecular geometry of BrCl5.

Step #2: Check the bond polarity and molecular geometry

The chemical bonds can be either nonpolar, polar or ionic depending on the difference of the electronegativity values (ΔEN) between the two atoms.

Have a look at the above image.

  • If the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) is less than 0.4, then the bond is nonpolar covalent bond.
  • If the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) is between 0.4 to 1.7, then the bond is polar covalent bond. 
  • If the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) is greater than 1.7, then the bond is an ionic bond. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Now let’s come to the example of BrCl5 molecule. It has five Br-Cl bonds.

You can see the electronegativity values of Bromine (Br) and Chlorine (Cl) atoms from the periodic table given below.

From the above image;

  • Electronegativity of Bromine (Br) = 2.96 [5]
  • Electronegativity of Chlorine (Cl) = 3.16 [6]

Now let’s see the polarity of each bond.

For Br-Cl bond;
The electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 3.16 – 2.96 = 0.2
This value is less than 0.4, which indicates that the bond between Bromine (Br) and Chlorine (Cl) is nonpolar.
Hence, each Br-Cl bond is a nonpolar covalent bond.

But wait, we also have to look at the molecular geometry of BrCl5 to know whether it has a symmetric shape or not.

Have a look at this 3D structure of BrCl5. The Bromine atom (Br) is at the center and it is surrounded by 5 Chlorine atoms (Cl).

It also has one lone pair on the Bromine atom (Br).

Is BrCl5 Polar or Nonpolar

Due to the lone pair on the bromine atom (Br), its molecular geometry becomes asymmetric.

Because of this, there are positive and negative poles of charges on the overall molecule of BrCl5.

Hence, the BrCl5 molecule is a polar molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason behind the polar nature of BrCl5 molecule.

See the polarity of other molecules to make your concepts clear:
Is ClO2- Polar or Nonpolar?
Is XeCl4 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is NOBr Polar or Nonpolar?
Is GeH4 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is Isopropanol (C3H8O) Polar or Nonpolar? 


Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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