Why is a molecule of #CO_2# nonpolar even though the bonds between the carbon atom and the oxygen atoms are polar?

1 Answer
Jan 12, 2017

Answer:

#"Because the C=O dipoles are horizontally opposed.........."#

Explanation:

#"......and their VECTOR sum gives no resultant dipole."#

#CO_2# is a linear molecule, and the #/_"O"-"C"-"O"# is #180^@#. Dipoles are vector quantities; they have magnitide and direction. While there is charge separation, i.e. polarity, in an individual #"C"="O"# bond, the resultant vector from the sum of the individual bond dipoles in the #""^(delta-)"O"="C"^(delta+)="O"^(delta-)# molecule is clearly ZERO. The same thing is observed with the #"CCl"_4# molecule, but not with the #"CHCl"_3# or #"CH"_2"Cl"_2# molecule. Capisce?