Why is SO2 polar but SO3 nonpolar?

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The question is –

Why is SO2 polar?


The polarity of a molecule depends on the distribution of its charge. In order to determine the polarity of a molecule, it is necessary to consider its shape and the electronegativity of its constituent atoms.

  • SO2 is a bent or V-shaped molecule with tetrahedral geometry. This means that the sulfur atom is located at the center of the molecule, with two oxygen atoms bonded to it at an angle of around 120 degrees.
  • The electronegativity of the oxygen atoms is significantly higher than that of the sulfur atom. This means that the oxygen atoms will have a stronger tendency to attract the electrons in the chemical bonds between the atoms, leading to an uneven distribution of charge within the molecule.
  • The result of this uneven distribution of charge is a separation of positive and negative charges within the molecule, which gives rise to a net dipole moment. This indicates that the SO2 molecule is polar.

why SO2 is polar molecule

In summary, the polarity of the SO2 molecule is due to its bent shape and the presence of a significant electronegativity difference between the sulfur and oxygen atoms. The resulting uneven distribution of charge leads to a net dipole moment and makes the molecule polar.

Why is SO3 nonpolar?

Sulfur trioxide (SO3) is a non-polar molecule because it has a symmetrical shape and the polar bonds within the molecule cancel each other out.

Polar molecules have a positive end and a negative end due to the uneven distribution of electrons within the molecule. This creates a dipole moment, which is a measure of the separation of charge within the molecule.

Non-polar molecules, on the other hand, do not have a dipole moment because their electrons are evenly distributed and there is no separation of charge.

In the case of SO3, the molecule has a trigonal planar shape, which means that it is symmetrical. This symmetry means that the bond polarities of the three oxygen atoms cancel each other out, resulting in a net dipole moment of zero. As a result, SO3 is an overall non-polar molecule.

why is SO3 nonpolar

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