Covalent vs Polar Covalent: Difference and Comparison

In chemistry, the bonds will be shared between two atoms. There are many types of bonds available. But the two most commonly used bonds in chemistry for sharing electrons are covalent and the other one is polar covalent.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Covalent bonds involve equal sharing of electrons between atoms, while polar covalent bonds have unequal electron distribution.
  2. Nonpolar covalent molecules are electrically neutral, whereas polar ones have partial positive and negative charges.
  3. Polar covalent bonds result in polar molecules interacting via dipole-dipole forces, while nonpolar covalent molecules experience weaker dispersion forces.

Covalent vs Polar Covalent

The difference between Covalent and Polar Covalent is that they have a shared pair of electrons, and the electrons are in an unpaired stage, which is called a covalent bond. Polar covalent bonds are used to name polar bonds in covalent bonds. In covalent bonds, you can either see the dipole moment or cannot. But in polar covalent, you can see the dipole moment. 

Covalent vs Polar Covalent

Covalent bonds are formed with the atoms. A bond can be identified, whether it is covalent or non-covalent, by looking at the periodic table.

Some of the characteristics a non-polar covalent bond should possess are the electrons should be equally shared between the atoms. In non-polar covalent, you will be able to find that the electronegativity difference between them is 0.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCovalentPolar Covalent
DefinitionThey are chemical bonds that are created by unpaired electrons between the atoms.This is used to name the polar covalent bonds
PolarityCovalent can sometimes be polar and sometimes non-polarPolar covalent are always polar
Charge SeparationThey can have either electronic charge separation or notThey show some slight electronic charge separation
Dipole momentThey either show or don’tThey can show the dipole moment
ElectronsElectrons are shared equallyElectrons are not shared equally

What is Covalent?

It is an interatomic linkage when electronic pair is shared between two atoms. This will be formed when they have lower energy than the widespread atoms.

One of the best examples to describe covalent bonds is with the help of carbon dioxide molecules. This molecule has one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, which makes it very stringer because two electron pairs are shared.

This, in turn, will create a long chain and will allow the much-needed complexity in life. Atoms will bond with other atoms in the covalent bond so that they will be able to gain stability.

What is Polar Covalent?

Atoms that share electrons even though they are from different electronegativities are called polar covalent. Partial negative sharing will happen when the bonding pairs are unequally shared.

The best example of polar covalent is water. We can even find whether the bond is polar or non-polar by checking its electronegativity difference. If the electronegativity difference is less than 0.4, they are considered non-polar.

A non-polar covalent bond will be formed when they have two hydrogen atoms, and the electrons will be equally shared. SO2 bond is considered a polar covalent bond because you can find the electronegativity difference between sulphur and oxygen atoms.

Main Differences Between Covalent and Polar Covalent

  1. Covalent bonds can either show dipole moments or cannot. On the other hand, polar covalent will always show dipole moment.
  2. In covalent bonds, electrons will be shared equally. On the other hand, in polar covalent, the electrons are not shared equally. 
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