In terms of structure and/or distribution of charge, why is #CO_2# a nonpolar molecule?

1 Answer
Dec 31, 2016

Because the vector sum of the indvidual bond dipoles is ZERO.......


Polarity reults from the geometric sum of the individual bond dipoles. For the #""^(delta^+)C=O^(delta^-)# bond there is some polarity, some charge separation. However, this polarity is precisely balanced by geometric summation with the other #""^(delta^-)O=C^(delta^+)# dipole, on the other side of the molecule. And thus carbon dioxide is a non-polar molecule.

On the other hand, for the carbon monoxide molecule, #""^(-)C-=O^+#, there is necessairly some degree of molecular polarity.