Is Co a Polar or Nonpolar Substance?

Carbon monoxide, abbreviated as CO, is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas found in the atmosphere. This can be made in a variety of ways, including by burning wood, charcoal, or gasoline. Many pupils may also be unsure if CO is polar or nonpolar. As a result, I will respond to this question as well as explore related themes.

Is CO a polar or nonpolar gas? CO (Carbon monoxide) is polar due to the electronegativity difference between carbon (2.55) and oxygen (3.44) atoms. Because the charge distributions of the carbon and oxygen atoms are uneven, the CO bond has a net dipole moment, making CO a polar molecule.

Carbon monoxide is produced in our environment by a variety of processes, including the combustion of wood, gasoline, charcoal, and other fuels.

Carbon monoxide gas, which is combustible by nature, can cause sickness and other health concerns if inhaled in amounts more than 35 ppm.

CO gas has a lower density than air. It is hazardous to animals with haemoglobin in their blood because CO molecules bind to the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin.

One carbon atom and one oxygen atom make up a carbon monoxide molecule. A triple bond connects the carbon and oxygen atoms.

Two of the three bonds are pi bonds, and one is a sigma bond. The CO molecule has a bond length of about 12 pm.

The valence electrons are made up of carbon and oxygen atoms. Four electrons from oxygen and two electrons from the carbon atom combine to create a triple bond in the CO molecule.

As a result, two electrons from the oxygen atom are involved in one bonding orbital, forming a dipolar bond.

Polarization occurs between carbon and oxygen atoms in this fashion. The dipole moment is directed towards the carbon atom, i.e. CO. On both atoms of the carbon monoxide molecule, there is an unequal charge distribution.

What Is the Difference Between Polar and Nonpolar Molecules?

The polarity of molecules is determined by a variety of factors, which are detailed in the following section. Bonds are what hold the atoms together. Ionic, metallic, covalent, and hydrogen bonds are among the several types of bonds.

Ionic and covalent bonds are the strongest of these and are commonly seen in chemical substances.

An ionic connection is formed when two oppositely charged atoms are joined together. In this link, oppositely charged atoms are bonded by a strong interaction known as an ionic bond to stabilise each other.

Two atoms share a pair of electrons in a covalent connection to keep each other stable and bound together. Depending on the atoms involved, this connection might be polar or nonpolar.

A nonpolar bond is one in which both atoms share electrons equally. In such molecules, the charge density on both atoms is the same, resulting in a nonpolar molecule.

A polar bond is one in which the charge distribution on both atoms of a molecule is uneven. This is due to the fact that their electronegativity is different.

More electronegative elements have a partial negative charge, whereas others get a small positive charge.

CO is a polar molecule for a reason.

Carbon monoxide is made up of one carbon and one oxygen atom, each with ten valence electrons. Carbon and oxygen create a triple bond, with two oxygen electrons and four oxygen electrons involved in a bonding orbital.

A dipolar bond with a partial negative charge on the carbon atom and a partial negative charge on the oxygen atom is generated in this fashion. Polarization in the direction of CO is caused by this dipolar connection.

The other two covalent bonds combine to form a polar bond with reverse polarity, i.e. in the CO direction.

Despite the fact that oxygen is more electronegative than carbon, the carbon atom has a partial negative charge and the oxygen atom has a partial positive charge.

CO is a polar molecule due to the electrical interaction between carbon and oxygen atoms.

A molecule’s polarity is determined by a number of factors, which are mentioned below.

A compound’s polarity is affected by a variety of factors.

Electronegativity: When the electronegativity of the atoms in a chemical bond differs, the link is polar because the more electronegative atom draws the electron pair slightly towards itself and gets a partial negative charge.

The other atom, on the other hand, receives a little positive charge. The greater the difference in electronegativity between two atoms, the greater the polarity.

The dipole moment of a chemical bond is created by the bond’s polarity. The polarity of a molecule is proportional to its dipole moment. The dipole moment can be determined numerically as follows:

D is the dipole moment.

Q stands for charge.

R denotes the distance between atoms (bond length)

q*r = D

The dipole moment is the mathematical product of the charge over atom and bond length, and it is used to determine a molecule’s polarity.

Geometrical Structure: molecules with a symmetrical geometrical structure have a net dipole moment of zero because it is conceivable for nonpolar molecules to include polar bonds, and these dipole moments balance out due to symmetry, resulting in a polar molecule.

Carbon Monoxide’s Geometrical Structure

Carbon monoxide has a linear molecular shape since it only has two atoms, carbon and oxygen, connected by a triple bond.

Linear chemical compounds are those with only two atoms. Bonding involves two carbon electrons and four oxygen electrons, leaving one lone pair on the carbon atom and one lone pair on the oxygen atom.

The geometrical structure of a carbon monoxide molecule is depicted below:

For a deeper understanding, you might read the essay on CO Lewis Structure, Geometry, and Hybridization.

Carbon monoxide’s Characteristics

Carbon monoxide is a colourless gas that is exceedingly toxic.

In its natural state, this gas has no odour or taste.

In the air, it is easily combustible at a wide range of concentrations.

Chloroform, ammonium hydroxide, ethyl acetate, benzene, acetic acid, and ethanol are all easily soluble in it.

Carbon monoxide has a molar mass of roughly 28.0, making it somewhat less dense than air, which has a molar mass of around 28.8.

Carbon monoxide has a boiling temperature of 191.5 degrees Celsius (312.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and a melting temperature of 205.02 degrees Celsius (337.04 degrees Fahrenheit).

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms

Because it attaches to haemoglobin in the blood, which transports oxygen to different regions of the body, persistent exposure to high carbon monoxide can cause serious disease in humans and animals.

The following are a few of the minor symptoms.

Vomiting or nausea

Consciousness loss


Vision is hazy


Carbon monoxide is a linear molecule made up of only two atoms: carbon and oxygen. However, the electronegativity of carbon and oxygen differs, resulting in a net dipole moment.

As a result, the CO molecule is polar in nature.

If you have any further queries, please post them in the comments area. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Read more: MO Diagram, PCl5 Lewis Structure, Molecular Geometry, and Hybridization

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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