Waldron, Robert D. Research Enterprises, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Last reviewed:May 2019
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A molecule possessing a permanent electric dipole moment, with a negatively charged end and a positively charged end. Molecules containing atoms of more than one element are polar, except where forbidden by symmetry; molecules formed from atoms of a single element (except ozone) are nonpolar (see illustration). An electric dipole is a localized distribution of positive and negative charge, without net charge. Molecular dipoles which exist in the absence of an applied field are called permanent dipoles.The dipole moments of polar molecules result in stronger intermolecular attraction, increased viscosities, higher melting and boiling points, and greater solubility in polar solvents than in nonpolar molecules. Examples of polar molecules include ammonia (NH3), ethanol (CH3CH2OH), and water (H2O). See also: Dipole moment; Electronegativity
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