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Polarity of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is made out of two atoms of oxygen (O) and one atom of carbon (C). The two oxygen atoms share a double covalent bond with carbon: O=C=O. The bond angle between carbon and oxygen is 180°. As can be seen from the image, CO2 has a linear and symmetrical shape [1-4].

CO<sub>2</sub> Polarity

Oxygen is more electronegative than carbon. The shared electron pairs will be pulled toward it. As a result, the two oxygen will acquire partial negative charges, and carbon will acquire a partial positive charge. Each C=O bond will have a dipole moment, and the two dipole moments are equal and opposite in direction. They will cancel, leaving a net zero dipole moment. Therefore, CO2 is overall a polar molecule.