Is CH4O polar or nonpolar? – Polarity of CH4O

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The question is –

Is CH4O polar or nonpolar?


CH4O is a polar molecule (net µ = 1.7 Debye).


CH4O is the condensed structural formula for methanol (CH3OH). It is polar as it consists of a strongly polar hydroxyl (OH) functional group.

The strong dipole moments of the O-H and C-O bonds do not get canceled equally with the small dipole moments of three weakly polar C-H bonds.

CH4O consists of 3 C-H bonds, 1 C-O bond, and an O-H bond.

Each C-H bond is only weakly polar (almost non-polar as per Pauling’s electronegativity scale), possessing an electronegativity difference of only 0.35 units between the single covalently bonded carbon (E.N = 2.55) and hydrogen (E.N = 2.20) atoms.

The shape of the molecule w.r.t the C-atom in the methyl (CH3) group is tetrahedral.

The C-O bond is moderately polar as per an electronegativity difference of 0.89 units between the carbon and oxygen (E.N = 3.44) atoms.

In contrast, the O-H bond is strongly bonded as per an electronegativity difference of 1.24 units between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms, respectively.

The shape of CH4O or CH3OH is bent, angular, or V-shaped w.r.t the O-atom.

2 lone pairs of electrons present on the oxygen atom lead to strong lone pair-lone pair and lone pair-bond pair repulsions, thus distorting the shape and geometry of the molecule.

Oxygen being strongly electronegative, attracts the C-H bonded electrons in addition to attracting the C-O and O-H bonded electrons.

The charged electron cloud stays non-uniformly spread over the molecule.

The O-atom thus gains a partial negative charge (δ) while the C-atom gains a partial positive charge (δ+), while each of the terminal H-atoms gains δ++ charges.

is ch4o polar or nonpolar

It is due to the bent in the above molecular shape that the dipole moments of individually polar bonds stay uncancelled overall.

 Consequently, CH4O is overall polar witH a resultant non-zero dipole moment (net µ > 0).

Also, check –

How to identify polar or nonpolar compounds?

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