Is C2H6O polar or nonpolar? - Polarity of C2H6O

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The question is –

Is C2H6O polar or non-polar?


C2H6O has two isomers; ethanol (C2H5OH) and dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3). Both isomers are polar molecules.


The polarity of C2H6O depends on the molecular arrangement of the bonded atoms (two carbon atoms, two hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom) and the electronegativity difference between them.

The electronegativity of each C-atom, H-atom, and O-atom is 2.55, 2.20, and 3.44, respectively.

Ethanol (C2H5OH) has a bent or V-shape, and molecular geometry as per the O-H bonded oxygen atom.

An electronegativity difference of 0.35 units exists between the bonded atoms in each C-H bond, 0.89 units in the C-O bond, and of 1.24 units exists in the O-H bond.

The oxygen atom not only attracts the shared electron cloud of the C-O and O-H bonds but also attracts electrons from each C-H bond.

As result, the oxygen atom (Oδ–) gains a partial negative charge while C-atoms (Cδ+) and H-atoms (Hδ++) attain partial positive charges.

The strong C-O and O-H dipole moments stay uncancelled in the overall molecular shape. Hence, an ethanol (C2H5OH) molecule is polar and has a high net dipole moment value (net µ > 0).

is c2h6o polar or nonpolar

The other isomer of C2H6O i.e., dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3), also possesses a bent or V-shape w.r.t the central O-atom.

2 lone pairs of electrons on the central O-atom distort the shape and geometry of the molecule.

The dipole moments of individually polar (C-O) bonds stay uncancelled in the asymmetric, bent shape.

Hence, dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3) is also polar with a net dipole moment (net µ = 1.30 Debye).

Among the two isomers, C2H5OH is more polar than CH3OCH3 owing to the presence of a strongly polar hydroxyl (OH) functional group in it.

Also, check

How to know if a compound is polar or nonpolar?

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