Is H2O2 a Polar or Nonpolar Substance?

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a chemical compound having the formula H2O2. In its pure state, it is a pale blue liquid, while in solution, it is colourless. It has a strong odour.

Only hydrogen and oxygen atoms make up the H2O2 molecule. In this post, we will look at the basics of polarity and see if H2O2 is polar or nonpolar.

Is H2O2 polar or nonpolar, then? Because of its bent form geometry, H2O2 is polar in nature. Because of the difference in electronegativity of hydrogen(2.2) and oxygen(3.44) atoms, the O-H bonds produce a net dipole moment. With a net dipole moment of 2.26 D, the oxygen atoms act as a negative pole, while the hydrogen atoms act as a positive pole.

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent as well as an oxidant. It dissolves quickly in water.

Due to hydrogen bonding effects between water and H2O2 molecules, it creates a colourless solution in water.

Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, is a light blue tint in its pure condition. It is a molecule made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that is nonpolar.

The molecular mass of H2O2 can be determined using the formula below.

2 * 1 (Mol mass of H) + 2 * 16 (Mol mass of O) = 34.0147 g/mol Mol mass of H2O2 = 2 * 1 (Mol mass of H) + 2 * 16 (Mol mass of O) = 34.0147 g/mol Mol mass of H2O2 = 2 * 1 (Mol mass of

As a byproduct, scientist Alexander von Humboldt synthesised this molecule for the first time in 1799.

Before going any further, it’s important to understand why hydrogen peroxide is polar. Let’s take a closer look at what polarity and non-polarity really mean.

It is made in laboratories by acidifying barium with sulfuric acid and then evaporating the excess water.

H2SO4 (aq) + BaO2.8H2O (s) + BaSO4 (s) + H2O2 (aq) + 8H2O (l)

Nonpolar vs. Polar Compounds

Different types of bonding forces, such as ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonds, connect the molecules.

Ionic bonds connect molecules, and these molecules are invariably polar. This is due to the electrostatic forces of attraction generated across the molecule by the two poles.

The link created is known to be non-polar if the atoms in the molecule are joined by covalent bonds and have the same electronegativity.

Polar Compounds: Polar compounds are chemical compounds in which positive and negative poles are formed.

Because the electronegativity of atoms coupled to each other is uneven, these compounds contain positive and negative poles.

The atom with the higher electronegativity attracts and pulls the bonded shared electrons closer to it, gaining partial negative charge and leaving a positive charge on the atom with the lower electronegativity.

The geometrical shape of polar molecules is distorted or uneven when examined. BrF3, HCl, and other polar compounds are examples. Take a look at the reason for BrF3’s polarity.

Nonpolar Compounds: Nonpolar molecules are ones that do not produce opposite poles. Atoms in these compounds have an equal charge distribution.

These chemicals will always create a covalent bond. Atoms forming a nonpolar link have the same electronegativity, hence no atom can share a bigger fraction of charge.

When you look at the geometrical shape of nonpolar substances, you’ll see that it’s symmetrical.

If the electronegativity of the atoms is identical and the molecule has a polar link, then the dipoles cancel each other out due to the symmetric structure of the molecule.

CBr4, Cl2, and other nonpolar chemicals are examples. The cause for CBr4’s non-polarity is explained in this article.

H2O2 is a polar molecule for a reason.

Two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms are organised in an open book-like configuration with bent O-H-O links in hydrogen peroxide.

The electronegativity of oxygen is around 3.44, while that of hydrogen is approximately 2.2. The O-H bond is polar because of the difference in electronegativity between O and H atoms.

The greater the difference in electronegativity, the greater the polarity.

The bonded shared electron attracts the more electronegative oxygen, which gets a partial negative charge.

As a result, the dipole moment across the O-H bond is directed in the same direction as oxygen.

Both O-H bonds produce a dipole that points in the direction of the oxygen atom. As a result, the resulting dipole is also oriented towards the oxygen atoms.

The total molecule’s net dipole moment is estimated to be around 2.26 D. The polar character of the H2O2 molecule is due to the deformed shape and electronegativity of oxygen and hydrogen atoms.

Important considerations when determining a compound’s polarity

There are a number of ways to determine if a chemical substance is polar or nonpolar. Let’s take a closer look at each of these points.

H2O2 Dipole Moment: The dipole moment of a molecule is a measurement of its polarity.

It is a mathematical representation of a molecule’s polarity. It’s also known as the product of atom charges and the distance between the centres of both atoms’ charges.

Q * R = D

A net dipole moment of 2.26 D is produced by hydrogen peroxide.

The asymmetric structure of H2O2: Like an open book, the shape of the H2O2 molecule is twisted because both O-H bonds are in separate planes.

When the molecule’s form is symmetric, the dipoles cancel each other out. CO2 has a linear shape geometry, for example. As a result, the dipoles of the C-O bonds cancel each other out.

Unlike CO2, H2O2 is deformed, resulting in a dipole that is directed towards the oxygen atom.

The geometrical geometry of the H2O2 molecule is seen below.

Electronegativity: A bond is nonpolar if the electronegativity of the atoms joined covalently is the same.

The electronegativity of oxygen and hydrogen atoms differs. The H-O bond becomes polar as a result.

Because oxygen is more electronegative than hydrogen, it draws the bonded shared electrons to its side, where they gain a partial negative charge and become a negative pole.

H2O2 has a Lewis structure.

The electronic representation of a chemical compound’s molecule displaying the distribution of electrons shared by atoms is known as the Lewis structure.

It depicts the number of lone pairs and valence electrons of atoms involved in the molecule’s creation.

Oxygen has six valence electrons and requires two more to complete its octet. The hydrogen atom, on the other hand, has only one electron in its outermost shell and needs one more to be stable.

To complete its octet, each oxygen atom shares one electron from hydrogen and one electron from oxygen.

The Lewis structure of the H2O2 molecule is shown below.

You should read the page H2O2 lewis structure for more details about its lewis structure.

H2O2’s Characteristics

In its pure state, hydrogen peroxide is a pale blue liquid that is colourless in solution.

It has a pungent odour.

H2O2 has a molecular mass of 34.0147 g/mol.

This combination has a melting point of 0.43 °C or 31.23 °F and a boiling point of 150.2 °C or 302.4 °F.

It is easily soluble in ether and alcohol since it is a polar chemical.

Its acidity is around 11.75 PKA.

The H2O2 molecule has a dipole moment of 2.26 D.

This material has a density of 1.05 g/cm3.

H2O2’s Applications

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent oxidizer that is employed in a wide range of chemical processes.

In the textile and paper sectors, it is also employed as a bleaching agent.

This substance can also be used as an antiseptic.

This is frequently used as a preservative in the food business for milk and other liquid food products.

High-concentration hydrogen peroxide is utilised as a rocket propellant.


Hydrogen peroxide is made up of two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms and has a nonplanar structure, i.e. an open book with an O-O spin.

The O-H bond is polar due to the electronegativity difference between oxygen and hydrogen atoms, and the dipole moment of the molecule is oriented towards the oxygen atom with an overall dipole of 2.26 D due to the deformed shape.

Read more: Is SiH4 a polar or nonpolar substance?

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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