Is ClF Polar or Nonpolar? (Why? & How?)

Is ClF Polar or Nonpolar

ClF is a POLAR molecule.

But why? 

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

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

ClF is a POLAR molecule because any two bonding atoms whose electronegativity difference is between 0.4 to 2.0 forms a polar bond.
Here in ClF molecule, the electronegativity difference of Chlorine atom (Cl = 3.16) and Fluorine atom (F = 3.98) is 0.82 (i.e 3.98 – 3.16 = 0.82). This  value (0.82) is between 0.4 and 2.0, hence the ClF molecule is a polar molecule.

Didn’t understand what is written above?

Let me explain this in a short and simple way (with 3D images).

Why is ClF a Polar molecule? (Explained!)

ClF is a polar molecule because it has a partial positive charge (ẟ+) on the Chlorine atom and partial negative charge (ẟ-) on the Fluorine atom.

In short, the ClF molecule forms a pole of positive charge and negative charge on it. Hence ClF is a polar molecule.

Is ClF Polar or Nonpolar

But wait, let me give you some detailed information about the polarity of ClF molecule.

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] [5]

Now let’s come to the example of ClF molecule.

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

From the above image;

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

So for ClF, the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 3.98 – 3.16 = 0.82

This value lies between 0.4 to 1.7, which indicates that the bond between Chlorine (Cl) and Fluorine (F) is polar covalent bond.

Hence, the ClF is a polar molecule.

How ClF becomes a Polar molecule?

In a ClF molecule, there is one chlorine atom (Cl) and one fluorine atom (F). Both these atoms are covalently bonded with each other by sharing one electron pair between them.

Is ClF Polar or Nonpolar

If we compare the electronegativity of chlorine and fluorine, then fluorine is more electronegative than chlorine.

This means that the fluorine atom has more tendency to attract the shared electron pair towards itself.

Is ClF Polar or Nonpolar

As the electron pair remains attracted towards the fluorine atom, the partial negative charge (ẟ-) appears on the Fluorine atom (F) and partial positive charge (ẟ+) appears on the Chlorine atom (Cl).

Is ClF Polar or Nonpolar

In this way the partial positive and partial negative charges are generated on the ClF molecule and hence ClF becomes a polar molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason behind the polarity of ClF molecule.

See the polarity of other molecules to make your concepts clear:
Is CH3OCH3 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is BrCl3 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is HI Polar or Nonpolar?
Is SeO2 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is OH- 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.

Read more about our Editorial process.

Leave a Comment