Are double bonds more polar than single bonds?

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The question is –

Are double bonds more polar than single bonds?


Yes, double bonds formed between two dissimilar atoms are generally more polar than single covalent bonds.


A double bond formed between two dissimilar atoms, such as C=O, is more polar than a corresponding single covalent bond, such as C-O, because double bonds containing pi-bonded electrons are generally less strongly held and consequently easily polarizable.

As per Pauling’s electronegativity scale, a polar covalent bond is formed between two dissimilar atoms (X-Y) having an electronegativity difference between 0.4 to 1.6 units.

The more electronegative atom (Y) strongly attracts the X-Y shared electron cloud towards itself, gaining a partial negative charge (Yδ). The other atom gains a partial positive charge (Xδ+), respectively.

An X-Y single covalent bond consists of a sigma (σ) bond only, while the X=Y double bond comprises a sigma and a pi (𝛑 ) bond.

The sigma-bonded electrons are strongly held and localized in the internuclear region.

Contrarily, pi-bonded electrons are comparatively weakly held above and below the two nuclei involved.

A pi-bond is thus easier to disturb and break as opposed to a sigma bond.

Delocalized electrons lead to an overall unequal charge distribution between the two participating atoms.

Therefore, in the presence of pi-bonded electrons (in a double bond such as C=O), there is a greater chance of developing oppositely charged poles in a molecule (i.e., it possesses greater polarizability).

Higher polarizability leads to greater dipole moment values; hence a C=O double bond is more polar than a C-O single bond.

Are double bonds more polar than single bonds

You may note that this concept does not apply to bonds containing identical atoms.

For instance, a C=C double bond is not more polar than a C-C single bond.

This is because zero or no electronegativity difference exists between two carbon atoms; thus, no dipole moment value consequently, both C=C and C-C bonds are purely non-polar.

Also, check –

How to identify polar or nonpolar compounds?

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