Is CF2Cl2 Polar or Nonpolar? (And Why?)

Is CF2Cl2 Polar or Nonpolar

CF2Cl2 is a POLAR molecule.

But why? 

And how can you say that CF2Cl2 is a polar molecule?

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

CF2Cl2 (or CCl2F2) is a POLAR molecule because the C-F bonds and C-Cl bonds present in the molecule are polar and it has asymmetric geometry which causes the partial positive (ẟ+) and partial negative (ẟ-) charge to appear on the molecule. These ẟ+ and ẟ- charges are responsible to make the entire CF2Cl2 molecule polar.

Let me explain this in detail with the help of CF2Cl2 lewis structure and its 3D geometry.

Why is CF2Cl2 a Polar molecule? (Explained in 3 Steps)

CF2Cl2 is a polar molecule because it has poles of partial positive charge (ẟ+) and partial negative charge (ẟ-) on it.

Let me explain this to you in 3 steps!

Step #1: Draw the lewis structure

Here is a skeleton of CF2Cl2 lewis structure and it contains two C-F bonds and two C-Cl bonds.

Is CF2Cl2 Polar or Nonpolar

(Note: If you want to know the steps of drawing the CF2Cl2 (or CCl2F2) lewis dot structure, then visit this article: CF2Cl2 lewis structure, Or you can also watch this short 2 minute video).

So from the above diagram we have come to know that the CF2Cl2 molecule has two C-F bonds and two C-Cl bonds.

Now in the next step we have to check whether these two C-F bonds and two C-Cl bonds are polar or nonpolar.

And we also have to check the molecular geometry of CF2Cl2.

Step #2: Check whether individual bonds are polar or nonpolar

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 CF2Cl2 molecule. It has two C-F bonds and two C-Cl bonds.

You can see the electronegativity values of Carbon (C), Fluorine (F) and Chlorine (Cl) atoms from the periodic table given below.

From the above image;

  • Electronegativity of Carbon (C) = 2.55 [5]
  • Electronegativity of Fluorine (F) = 3.98 [6]
  • Electronegativity of Chlorine (Cl) = 3.16 [7]

Now let’s see the polarity of each bond.

For C-F bond;
The electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 3.98 – 2.55 = 1.43
This value lies between 0.4 to 1.7, which indicates that the bond between Carbon (C) and Fluorine (F) is polar.
Hence, each C-F bond is a polar covalent bond.

For C-Cl bond;
The electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 3.16 – 2.55 = 0.61 
This value lies between 0.4 to 1.7, which indicates that the bond between Carbon (C) and Chlorine (Cl) is polar.
Hence, each C-Cl bond is a polar covalent bond.

Is CF2Cl2 Polar or Nonpolar

You can see in the above image that because of large electronegativity difference of Carbon and Fluorine atoms, the partial positive charge (ẟ+) appears on the Carbon atom (C) and partial negative charge (ẟ-) appears on the Fluorine atoms (F) as well as Chlorine atoms (Cl).

(Note: There is more negative charge on fluorine atoms as compared to chlorine atoms, because fluorine is more electronegative than chlorine.)

But wait, we also have to look at the molecular geometry of CF2Cl2 to know whether it has a symmetric shape or not.

Step #3: Check whether the molecule is symmetric or not

Have a look at this 3D structure of CF2Cl2. The Carbon atom (C) is at the center and it is surrounded by 2 Fluorine atoms (F) and 2 Chlorine atoms (Cl).

Is CF2Cl2 Polar or Nonpolar

It has asymmetric geometry because of different bond lengths and difference in electronegativity of C-F bonds and C-Cl bonds.

Because of this, there are positive and negative poles of charges on the overall molecule of CF2Cl2.

Hence, the CF2Cl2 molecule is a polar molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason behind the polar nature of CF2Cl2 molecule.

See the polarity of other molecules to make your concepts clear:
Is C2H6 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is OCl2 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is OCS Polar or Nonpolar?
Is Benzene (C6H6) Polar or Nonpolar?
Is SiH4 Polar or Nonpolar? 

Author

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 chemistry learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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