Is Cyclohexane (C6H12) Polar or Nonpolar? (And Why?)

Cyclohexane (C6H12) is a NONPOLAR molecule.

But why?

And how can you say that cyclohexane is a nonpolar molecule?

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

Cyclohexane (or C6H12) is a NONPOLAR molecule because all the individual bonds are nonpolar and cyclohexane has symmetrical geometry.
In other words, the electronegativity difference of these bonds is very less. Hence the cyclohexane molecule is a nonpolar molecule.

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

Why is Cyclohexane a Nonpolar molecule? (Explained in 2 Steps)

Cyclohexane is a nonpolar molecule because it does not have any pole of positive charge and negative charge on it.

Let me explain this to you in just 2 steps!

Step #1: Draw the lewis structure

Here is a skeleton of Cyclohexane (C6H12) lewis structure and it contains 12 C-H bonds.

So from the above diagram we have come to know that the Cyclohexane molecule has 12 C-H bonds.

Now in the next step we have to check whether these C-H bonds are polar or nonpolar.

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

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 C6H12 molecule. It has 12 C-H bonds.

You can see the electronegativity values of Carbon (C) and Hydrogen (H) atoms from the periodic table given below.

From the above image;

• Electronegativity of Carbon (C) = 2.55 [5]
• Electronegativity of Hydrogen (H) = 2.2 [6]

Now let’s see the polarity of each bond.

For C-H bond;
The electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 2.55 – 2.2 = 0.35
This value is less than 0.4, which indicates that the bond between Carbon (C) and Hydrogen (H) is nonpolar.
Hence, each C-H bond is a nonpolar covalent bond.

As each C-H bonds are nonpolar, there will not be any partial positive charge (ẟ+) or partial negative charge (ẟ-) on the carbon and hydrogen atoms.

From this, you can easily get the idea that the cyclohexane molecule is a nonpolar molecule.

But let’s also see whether this cyclohexane molecule has a symmetric geometry or not.

Have a look at this 3D structure of cyclohexane. You can see that the structure of cyclohexane is symmetrical.

The carbon chain is surrounded by hydrogen atoms which are equidistant as well as at equal angles.

As all the 12 bonds (C-H) are nonpolar and the C6H12 molecule has a symmetrical geometry, there are no positive and negative poles of charges on the overall molecule of C6H12.

Hence, the C6H12 molecule is a nonpolar molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason behind the nonpolar nature of cyclohexane (i.e C6H12) molecule.

See the polarity of other molecules to make your concepts clear:
Is IOF5 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is NH2Cl Polar or Nonpolar?
Is HNO3 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is IBr3 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is NH2- Polar or Nonpolar?

Author
Jay Rana

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.