Why CO2 is linear while H2O is bent Shape?- Chemical Bonding

CO2 is linear while H2O is bent in Shape

Although both CO2 and H2O are triatomic molecules, H2O molecules are bent in shape while CO2 molecules are linear in shape.

h2o bent shape
water bent shape
co2 linear structire
CO2 Linear Shape

Learning Objectives

  • Explaining CO2 and H2O shape based on dipole moment.
  • Describing CO2 and H2O structure on the basis of type of hybridization.

Dipole Moment Definition

The dipole moment is equal to the product of the size of the positive or negative charge (q) and the distance between the charges (d).

Dipole Moment Formula


Dipole Moment Unit

SI unit is the coulomb metre.

CO2 Dipole Moment

The molecule with symmetrical and linear geometries has zero dipole moment because vectors exist in nature and the dipole of distinct bonds cancels out.

dipole mement of co2

CO2 is symmetrical and possesses a dipole moment of zero.Therefore,it will be linear with a bond angle of 180 degrees.

So, Resultant μ = 0 D

H2O Dipole Moment

H2O is an asymmetrical molecule with curved geometries; these geometries have a particular dipole moment (1.84D) because the bond polarities do not cancel each other out. Consequently, H2O will have a bent structure with a bond angle of 104 degrees.

Watch -> Dipole Moment Concept in Simple Words ( Urdu / Hind)

CO2 and H2O structure on the basis of Hybridization

CO2 Hybridization

In CO2, the carbon dioxide atom is sp- hybridized. The two sp-hybrid orbitals are at an angle of 120 from each other, resulting in the linear shape of co2 The linear shape of co2 is also confirmed by the zero value of its dipole moment.

H2O Hybridization

In H2O, an oxygen atom is sp3 hybridized and the four sp3 hybrid orbitals are occupied by the two lone pairs of electrons. Due to the greater repulsion of the lone pair, the two bond pairs are compressed together to an angle of 104.5, resulting in an angular or bent structure of H2O. The dipole moment value of 1.84D for H2O also confirms its angular shape.

Continue Reading -> Why bond angle in NH3 is 107° while in H2O is 104.5°?

Related Post -> Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory

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Frequently Asked Question – FAQ

Why is H2O bent and not linear?

Due to the two lone pairs of electrons on the oxygen atom, the molecule of water adopts a bent form.

Is CO2 linear or bent?

The carbon dioxide molecule is linear because the two double bonds strive to get as far apart as possible.

What is the difference between bent and linear shapes?

The primary distinction between linear and bent molecular shapes is that linear molecules have atoms that are covalently bound, making a straight molecule, whereas bent molecules have atoms arranged in an angled bend. Different molecules are described by the phrases linear molecules and bent molecules.

Is the bent structure of water have dipole moment?

H2O is an example of a polar molecule. Due to the lone pair on oxygen, the structure of H2O is bent (according to the VSEPR theory), meaning that the vectors representing the dipole moments of each bond do not cancel out. Water is hence polar.

Which has highest dipole moment CO2 or H2O?

Water possesses the greatest dipole moment. The dipole moment measures the polarity of a substance. Carbon Dioxide is a linear molecule; hence, its dipole moments are in opposing directions and cancel each other out, resulting in a dipole moment of zero.

What is a dipole moment?

A dipole moment quantifies the distance between two opposite electrical charges. Dipole moments are a vector quantity. Negative charge to positive charge:

μ = q · r

Is CO2 SP or sp2?

Carbon in CO2 forms two double bonds, one with each oxygen atom. Therefore, the hybridization of carbon is sp.

How do you find the hybridization of an atom?

Count the number of atoms connected to a specific atom (sigma bonds and lone pairs of electrons).
If the value is 4, an atom is sp3.
If the value is 3, the atom is sp2.
If the number is 2, an atom is sp.

What are the three types of hybridization?

Type Of Hybridization

  • sp³ Tetrahedral shape
  • sp² Planar trigonal shape
  • sp Linear shape

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