Is GeH4 Polar or Nonpolar? (And Why?)

Is GeH4 Polar or Nonpolar

GeH4 is a NONPOLAR molecule.

But why? 

And how can you say that GeH4 is a nonpolar molecule?

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

GeH4 is a NONPOLAR molecule because all the four bonds (Ge-H bonds) are identical and GeH4 has symmetrical geometry.
Also the electronegativity difference of Germanium atom (Ge = 2.01) and Hydrogen atom (H = 2.2) is 0.19 (i.e 2.2 – 2.01 = 0.19), which is very less. Hence the GeH4 molecule is a nonpolar molecule.

Let me explain this in detail with the help of GeH4 lewis structure and its 3D geometry.

Why is GeH4 a Nonpolar molecule? (Explained in 2 Steps)

GeH4 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 GeH4 lewis structure and it contains four Ge-H bonds.

Is GeH4 Polar or Nonpolar

(Note: If you want to know the steps of drawing the GeH4 lewis dot structure, then visit this article: GeH4 lewis structure).

So from the above diagram we have come to know that the GeH4 molecule has four Ge-H bonds.

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

And we also have to check the molecular geometry of GeH4.

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 GeH4 molecule. It has four Ge-H bonds.

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

From the above image;

  • Electronegativity of Germanium (Ge) = 2.01 [5]
  • Electronegativity of Hydrogen (H) = 2.2 [6]

Now let’s see the polarity of each bond.

For Ge-H bond;
The electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 2.2 – 2.01 = 0.19
This value is less than 0.4, which indicates that the bond between Germanium (Ge) and Hydrogen (H) is nonpolar.
Hence, each Ge-H bond is a nonpolar covalent bond.

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

From this, you can easily get the idea that the GeH4 molecule is a nonpolar molecule.

But let’s also see whether this GeH4 molecule has a symmetric geometry or not.

Is GeH4 Polar or Nonpolar

Have a look at this 3D structure of GeH4. You can see that the structure of GeH4 is symmetrical. 

The germanium atom is at the center and it is surrounded by 4 hydrogen atoms which are equidistant as well as at equal angles.

As all the four bonds (Ge-H) are nonpolar and the GeH4 molecule has a symmetrical geometry, there are no positive and negative poles of charges on the overall molecule of GeH4.

Hence, the GeH4 molecule is a nonpolar molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason behind the nonpolar nature of GeH4 molecule.

See the polarity of other molecules to make your concepts clear:
Is Isopropanol (C3H8O) Polar or Nonpolar?
Is Butane (C4H10) Polar or Nonpolar?
Is CN- Polar or Nonpolar?
Is N2H4 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is SeCl2 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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