Is XeO3 Polar or Nonpolar? (And Why?)

Is XeO3 Polar or Nonpolar

XeO3 is a POLAR molecule.

But why? 

And how can you say that XeO3 is a polar molecule?

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

XeO3 is a POLAR molecule because the Oxygen (O) present in the molecule is more electronegative, 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 XeO3 molecule polar.

Let me explain this in detail with the help of XeO3 lewis structure and its 3D geometry.

Why is XeO3 a Polar molecule? (Explained in 3 Steps)

XeO3 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 XeO3 lewis structure and it contains three Xe=O bonds.

Is XeO3 Polar or Nonpolar

(Note: If you want to know the steps of drawing the XeO3 lewis dot structure, then visit this article: XeO3 lewis structure, Or you can also watch this short 2 minute video).

So from the above diagram we have come to know that the XeO3 molecule has three Xe=O bonds.

Now in the next step we have to check whether these Xe=O bonds are polar or nonpolar.

And we also have to check the molecular geometry of XeO3.

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] [5]

Now let’s come to the example of XeO3 molecule. It has three Xe=O bonds.

You can see the electronegativity values of Xenon (Xe) and Oxygen (O) atoms from the periodic table given below.

From the above image;

  • Electronegativity of Xenon (Xe) = 2.6 [6]
  • Electronegativity of Oxygen (O) = 3.44 [7]

Now let’s see the polarity of each bond.

For Xenon-Oxygen bond;
The electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 3.44 – 2.6 = 0.84
This value lies between 0.4 to 1.7, which indicates that the bond between Xenon (Xe) and Oxygen (O) is polar.
Hence, each Xenon-Oxygen bond is a polar covalent bond.

Is XeO3 Polar or Nonpolar

You can see in the above image that because of higher electronegativity of Oxygen atom, the partial positive charge (ẟ+) appears on the Xenon atom (Xe) and partial negative charge (ẟ-) appears on the Oxygen atom (O).

But wait, we also have to look at the molecular geometry of XeO3 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 XeO3. The Xenon atom (Xe) is at the center and it is surrounded by 3 Oxygen atoms (O).

It also has one lone pair on the Xenon atom (Xe).

Is XeO3 Polar or Nonpolar

Due to the lone pair on the xenon atom (Xe), its molecular geometry becomes asymmetric.

Because of this, there are positive and negative poles of charges on the overall molecule of XeO3.

Hence, the XeO3 molecule is a polar molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason behind the polar nature of XeO3 molecule.

See the polarity of other molecules to make your concepts clear:
Is XeO4 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is POCl3 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is H2Se Polar or Nonpolar?
Is AlCl3 Polar or Nonpolar?
Is COCl2 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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