Polar or nonpolar COF2? (Explanation in Depth)

Carbonyl fluoride, or COF2, is a chemical compound that exists in a gaseous state. It’s a colourless gas that’s extremely dangerous. COF2 has a harsh, unpleasant odour. This compound has a trigonal planar geometry.

It’s symmetrical, with a difference in electronegativity due to the presence of oxygen and two fluorines in the complex, which brings us back to the original question.

Is COF2 a polar or a nonpolar compound? Because of the electronegativity mismatch between oxygen and fluorine, carbonyl fluoride (COF2) is a polar molecule. Fluorine is the periodic table’s most electronegative element. As a result, it obtains a tiny negative charge as it draws electrons more than oxygen, causing the carbon atom to gain a slight positive charge.

What Is the Difference Between Polar and Nonpolar Molecules?

Polar Molecules are a type of molecule that exists in the polar

The separation of electric charges in these molecules creates charge gradients within the molecule. Polarity is caused by changes in electronegativity inside the molecule.

Electrons are drawn to more electronegative materials, resulting in variations in charge densities.

Polar molecules include hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, water, ethanol, ammonia, and hydrogen sulphide.

Molecules That Aren’t Polar

There is no charge separation in these molecules, and there are no charge gradients inside them.

Different electronegativity elements may be present in the molecule, but their effects cancel each other out, leaving no dipole.

Non-polar molecules include dihydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and chlorine gas.

COF2 is a polar compound due to its shape and charge distribution.

Assume we draw COF2’s Lewis structure. In that instance, the attraction of carbon electrons by fluorine will be greater than that of oxygen.

The elements fluorine and oxygen are both electronegative. Fluorine, on the other hand, being the most electronegative, attracts electrons to itself, causing a charge imbalance.

Fluorine has a small negative charge due to its asymmetrical charge distribution. Because oxygen cannot neutralise fluorine’s action, it generates a dipole, making the molecule polar.

COF2: What Elements Are Involved?

  1. Carbon: It is the core atom of COF2 and the head element of group 14. Carbon has an electronegativity of 2.55. Carbon is a nonmetallic element that belongs to the P block. COF2 gives it a small positive charge.

• 6th atomic number

• 4 valency

• State of oxidation: +4

  1. Oxygen: The head element of group 16 is oxygen. Oxygen has an electronegativity of 3.44. Oxygen is nonmetallic and belongs to the P block of the periodic table.

• 8th atomic number

• 2 valency

• State of oxidation: -2 (general case)

  1. Fluorine is the 17th element in the periodic table. Fluorine is the most electronegative element in the periodic table. Fluorine has an electronegativity of 3.98. Fluorine is a halide and non-metal that belongs to the P block. COF2 gives it a small negative charge.

• 9th atomic number

• 1 valency

• State of oxidation: -1

Is COF2 a covalent or electrovalent compound?

COF2 is a two-component covalent molecule. Covalent compounds are ones in which the electrons of the constituent elements are shared to complete the octet.

Because there is no ion production owing to electron sharing, these chemicals do not produce free ions in water.

There is no sharing of electrons in electrovalent substances. Electrons are entirely transported from an electropositive to an electronegative atom, forming a strong, attractive force that binds the molecule.

COBr2 produces both positive and negative ions, which are referred to as cation and anion, respectively.

What are the physical properties of COF2?

• It has a noxious stench and appears as a colourless gas.

• It has a molar mass of 66.01 grammes per mol.

• It has a density of 2.698 g/L (gas) or 1.139 g/cm3 (solid) (liquid)

• Carbonyl fluoride has a melting point of –111.26 °C (–168.27 °F; 188.58 K).

• It has an estimated boiling point of 84.57 degrees Celsius (120.23 degrees Fahrenheit; 188.58 degrees Kelvin).

• Carbonyl fluoride has an Exerted Vapor Pressure of 55.4 atm at 20 °C.

COF2 has the molecular shape C2v.

• It has a 0.95D dipole moment.

What are the chemical properties of COF2?

• Carbonyl fluoride is a fluoride that is acidic.

• Water, bases, powerful oxidising agents, and alcohols react with it.

• Heating COF2 to a higher temperature allows carbon monoxide gas and fluorine to breakdown.

• Although carbonyl fluoride can burn in the air, it is difficult to ignite.

• To put out COF2 fires, we can use dry chemicals, CO2, a large amount of water, or foam extinguishers.

• Because it is acidic, it can generate salts when it reacts with certain bases.

• Hydrogen fluoride gas is formed when carbonyl fluoride reacts aggressively with water.

Is COF2 Water Soluble?

COF2 is soluble in water because water is also a polar chemical, and polar solvents dissolve polar compounds.

Even yet, as it reacts rapidly with water, it instantly hydrolyzes. It’s a moisture-absorbent hygroscopic chemical. It can also generate dangerous hydrogen fluoride gas when it reacts with steam.

COF2 contains which intermolecular force?

All of the molecules in carbonyl fluoride will have a dipole because it is a polar chemical. A force of attraction exists between the molecules due to a little positive and negative charge on the molecules.

The molecules are held together by the force of attraction between negative and positive charges. Dipole-Dipole interaction, a Van Der Waals force type, is the name for this type of interaction.

Why is COF2’s melting and boiling point so low?

The dipole-dipole interaction is an attractive force that binds the molecules in this chemical together.

In covalent compounds, there is no complete electron transfer. In addition, the individual elements of the compound do not have a total net charge, simply a minor charge.

The Van Der Waals force becomes a weak attractive force as a result. As a result, defeating these forces becomes simple. We’re on the verge of changing the state of the complex if we can overcome the pressures.

COF2 has low melting and boiling temperatures, hence it is found in a gaseous condition.

What is the Purpose of COF2 as a Gas?

The attractive or repulsive intermolecular contact among a compound’s molecules determines its state. This interaction is caused by Van Der Waals’ force, which also determines the compound’s state.

The surface area or size of the molecules has a big impact on the Van der Waals force.

When the atom’s size is large, the number of electrons it can hold is also large. The electrons will spread if the quantity of electrons is great and the surface area is similarly huge.

When they come into contact with more electronegative elements, they feel a force, deform more, and become more attracted to the element. The Van Der Waals force is strengthened.

However, as the size of the molecule decreases, the strength of the Van Der Waals force decreases as well, as is the situation with COF2.

As a result, the attraction between the molecules is weak, and the molecules drift apart, rendering the complex gaseous in its current state. Carbonyl fluoride exists as a gas because of this.

COF2 Dipole Moment?

Because of its shape, COF2 has a reduced dipole moment of 0.95 D. This combination contains two strongly electronegative elements: oxygen and fluorine.

The elements oxygen and fluorine draw electrons towards themselves. Fluorine, on the other hand, has a higher affinity for electrons, giving it a little negative charge.

Because fluorine is the most electronegative element in the combination, it renders it polar. Despite this, much of fluorine’s action is negated by the presence of oxygen. Carbonyl fluoride has a lower dipole moment.


So now we know everything there is to know about carbonyl fluoride and its polarity. The question of whether COF2 is a polar or nonpolar molecule has been answered. The cause for this chemical compound’s polarity was revealed to us. We also learned the difference between polar and non-polar compounds. We saw the compound’s Lewis structure and geometry, which proves that COF2 is polar.

We got a quick rundown of the ingredients that make up this chemical. With the physical and chemical properties of COF2, we were able to determine whether it is an ionic or a covalent compound.

We also discovered how COF2 reacts with water and which intermolecular forces are involved. We now understand why it has such low melting and boiling points, as well as why it exists as a gas. Finally, we investigated the rationale behind COF2’s lower dipole moment. We hope this has answered all of your questions!

Read more: Geometry, Hybridization, and Polarity of SCl2 Lewis Structure

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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