CF4 is a covalent (nonpolar covalent) compound because when one nonmetal combines with another nonmetal, it usually forms a covalent compound. Here, C is a nonmetal and F is also a nonmetal. So when they combine, it forms a covalent compound.
Well, now you have got to know that CF4 is a covalent compound, but let me explain the in-depth reason why CF4 is a covalent compound.
If you are a visual learner like me, then here is a short one minute video for you.
Why is CF4 a Covalent compound?
As mentioned above, you can simply remember that when the nonmetal combines with another nonmetal, the bond between them is a covalent bond.
Here in CF4, the C atom is a nonmetal and the F atom is also a nonmetal.
Hence the bond between them is a covalent bond.
How does the covalent bond form in CF4?
In CF4, there are two atoms;
C and F.
About Carbon (C):
Carbon atom have 6 electrons.
The electrons arrangement in Carbon (C) is 2, 4.
So the outermost orbit of Carbon atom has 4 electrons.
Now in order to achieve a stable octet, the Carbon atom needs 4 more electrons.
Hence during the chemical reaction, the Carbon atom will gain 4 electrons from the combining atom to form a stable octet.
About Fluorine (F):
Fluorine atom have 9 electrons.
The electrons arrangement in Fluorine (F) is 2, 7.
So the outermost orbit of Fluorine atom has 7 electrons.
Now in order to achieve a stable octet, the Fluorine atom needs 1 more electron.
Hence during the chemical reaction, the Fluorine atom will gain 1 electron from the combining atom to form a stable octet.
What happens when C and F combine?
When C and F combine with each other, the Carbon atom and Fluorine atoms mutually share their 1-1 electrons with each other.
Because of this the carbon atom will have 8 electrons in its outermost orbit and similarly the fluorine atoms will also have 8 electrons in its outermost orbit.
As a result, the carbon atom and fluorine atoms will have a stable octet.
And finally, as the bond formed between the carbon and fluorine is due to the mutual sharing of electrons, it is considered a covalent bond.
Thus, CF4 is a covalent compound.
Is CF4 polar covalent or nonpolar covalent?
In order to know whether CF4 is a polar covalent molecule or nonpolar covalent molecule, we have to check the electronegativity difference of the combining atoms.
If the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) is less than 0.4, then the bond is nonpolar covalent bond.
Now the electronegativity of Carbon and Fluorine are mentioned below. (You can see the electronegativity of all the elements from this electronegativity chart).
- Electronegativity of Carbon (C) = 2.55
- Electronegativity of Fluorine (F) = 3.98
So for CF4, 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 covalent bond.
But if you look at the 3D structure of CF4, you can see that the structure of CF4 is symmetrical.
As both the bonds (C-F) are symmetrical and the CF4 molecule has a symmetrical geometry, their bond polarity gets canceled with each other.
Hence, CF4 is a nonpolar covalent molecule.
I hope you have understood the reason why CF4 is a nonpolar covalent compound.
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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