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Why Is Water a Polar Molecule?


Three-dimensional molecular structure of water, H2O.

This is the three-dimensional structure of water. The hydrogen atoms are both on the same side of the molecule, so the charge is not evenly distributed.

Ben Mills

Question: Why Is Water a Polar Molecule?

Water is a polar molecule. Here is the explanation for why water is a polar molecule and why water is a polar solvent.

Answer: Water (H2O) is a polar solvent and each water molecule exhibits polarity. Do you know why?

Water is polar because of the difference in electronegativity between hydrogen and oxygen. The highly electronegative oxygen atom attracts electrons or negative charge to it, making the region around the oxygen more negative than the areas around the two hydrogen atoms.

However, the molecule would not be polar if H2O was linear like, for example, carbon dioxide, CO2. Each water molecule is bent so that the positive portions of the molecule (the hydrogen atoms) are flexed away from the two filled orbitals of the oxygen.

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