What is the difference between polar and nonpolar acetone?

(CH3)2CO is the chemical formula for acetone, an organic molecule. It’s known as the most basic ketone. It’s a colourless, flammable liquid. It has a distinct odour and is highly combustible. Many pupils may be unsure if acetone is polar or non-polar. We’ll go over this in detail in this post, as well as its qualities and applications.

Is Acetone Nonpolar or Polar? Because of the difference in electronegativity of oxygen and carbon atoms, acetone is a polar chemical with polarity in the carbonyl group. As a result, Acetone’s dipole moment is roughly 2.69 D.

At normal temperature, acetone exists as a liquid. It has a distinct odour and is colourless in appearance. It is combustible and volatile by nature.

Andreas Libavius used the procedure of distillation of Lead(II) acetate to create acetone for the first time in 1606.

However, the procedure has now been altered. Propylene is used to make it. Acetone is primarily manufactured using the cumene process.

The cumene method involves alkylating benzene with propylene to make cumene, which is then oxidised by air to provide acetone and phenol.

It’s a good solvent because it’s easily miscible in water. Propan-2-one is its preferred IUPAC name.

This molecule is also created by several metabolic activities inside the human body and excreted through urine.

Diabetic patients have a higher acetone level in their body.

This material acts as a solvent, allowing it to dissolve other substances. It is one of the most commonly used solvents for removing nail polish off the nails.

This chemical molecule belongs to the ketone family of compounds.

It has a molecular mass of 58.080 gmol1.

When it comes to the chemical structure of acetone, It is made up of one carbonyl group (C=O) and two methyl groups that are covalently bonded (-CH3).

Carbon has an electronegativity of 2.55 and oxygen has an electronegativity of 3.44. The polarity of the C=O bond is ensured by the difference in electronegativity between carbon and oxygen.

Because it is more electronegative, the oxygen atom draws the bound electron pair with greater force and develops a little positive charge.

The carbon atom, on the other hand, receives a partial positive charge.

The two methyl groups on either side of the carbonyl group are also non-polar. However, the entire molecule becomes polar due to the polarity of the C=O (carbonyl group).

The dipole moment of acetone is non zero due to the polar carbonyl group (2.69 D).

The detailed structure of acetone is shown here, along with the band angles and bond lengths in the molecule.

What Is the Difference Between Polar and Nonpolar Molecules?

Interatomic forces such as covalent, ionic, hydrogen bond, and metallic bonds hold molecules together.

The atoms were bound together by ionic and covalent connections to create molecules. Covalent bonds can be polar or nonpolar, depending on a variety of characteristics such as electronegativity, geometric structure, and the molecule’s dipole.

Polar Molecules: These are molecules with an uneven charge distribution among their atoms. Such values have a non-zero dipole moment.

When the electronegativity of two covalently connected atoms differs, a polar bond is formed.

The bound electron pair is drawn somewhat closer to the more electronegative atom, which gives it a partial negative charge.

The lesser electronegative atom, on the other hand, receives a partial positive charge.

A molecule’s polarity is defined by the unequal distribution of charge among its atoms.

HBr, OF2, and H2O are a few examples of such compounds. You can look into the explanation for HBr’s polarity.

Molecules with no dipole moment are known as nonpolar molecules. The charge is distributed evenly among the atoms in this molecule.

If two atoms have the same electronegativity, the covalent bond formed by them is said to be nonpolar.

The charge distribution in these molecules is uniform.

Hexane, PCl5, and other similar compounds are examples. You can look into the reason behind PCl5’s non-polarity.

Acetone is a polar molecule for a reason.

Acetone is a three-carbon, six-hydrogen-atom, and one-oxygen-atom organic molecule.

On both sides of the molecule, one carbonyl group is encircled by two methyl groups.

Because of the difference in electronegativity between oxygen and a carbon atom, the methyl group on both sides of the carbonyl group is nonpolar, whereas the carbonyl group is polar in nature.

The difference in electronegativity across the carbonyl group can be calculated. 3.44 – 2.55 = 0.89 D is the answer.

The non-uniform charge distribution over the carbonyl group (C=O) is shown by this disparity.

Aspects that influence a molecule’s polarity

The term electronegativity refers to the strength with which a bound electron pair is attracted to its side.

If the electronegativity of two atoms making a covalent connection differs from each other. The bound electron is attracted to the higher electronegative atom’s side, and the atom receives a partial negative charge.

As a result, the polarity of a molecule is proportional to the difference in electronegativity of the atoms that make up that molecule.

Dipole Moment: The dipole moment is a measurement of a molecule’s polarity. D stands for the dipole moment. Debye is the SI unit for it.

The dipole moment of a polar molecule is never zero. The dipole moment of nonpolar molecules is zero.

It is the product of the charge on atoms and the distance between them in mathematics.

Geometrical Form: A molecule’s shape is a key parameter in determining whether or not it is polar.

Molecules with geometrically symmetrical shapes are polar in nature.

The geometrical structure of acetone is depicted below.

Acetone’s Characteristics

At room temperature, it is a colourless liquid.

It has a strong, unpleasant odour.

It is a volatile substance that evaporates when exposed to air.

This chemical has a molecular mass of 58.080 gmol1.

It’s thought to be a good solvent for dissolving other chemicals.

Acetone’s Applications

It’s commonly utilised as a solvent in the production of plastics and other goods.

It is used to remove nail polish.

It is used in the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture medicines.

It’s also utilised in the production of a variety of cosmetics.


Acetone is a chemical molecule with two methyl groups connected to a carbonyl group (C=O) (-CH3).

Because of the difference in electronegativity of oxygen and carbon atoms, methyl groups are nonpolar while carbonyl groups are polar.

As a result, the complete molecule of acetone has a dipole moment of 2.69 D.

Acetone is a polar molecule because of these factors.

Guys, if you have any questions on acetone’s polarity. You can post your questions in the comments area. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Read more: Molecular Geometry, Hybridization, and Polarity of SiF4 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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