You are here

Water Is Polar

6 April, 2016 - 17:26

The hydrogen and oxygen atoms within water molecules form polar covalent bonds. The shared electrons spend more time associated with the oxygen atom than they do with hydrogen atoms. There is no overall charge to a water molecule, but there is a slight positive charge on each hydrogen atom and a slight negative charge on the oxygen atom. Because of these charges, the slightly positive hydrogen atoms repel each other and form the unique shape seen in Figure 2.7. Each water molecule attracts other water molecules because of the positive and negative charges in the different parts of the molecule. Water also attracts other polar molecules (such as sugars), forming hydrogen bonds. When a substance readily forms hydrogen bonds with water, it can dissolve in water and is referred to as hydrophilic (“water-loving”). Hydrogen bonds are not readily formed with nonpolar substances like oils and fats (Figure 2.8 ). These nonpolar compounds are hydrophobic(“water-fearing”) and will not dissolve in water.

Figure 2.8
As this macroscopic image of oil and water show, oil is a nonpolar compound and, hence, will not dissolve in water. Oil and water do not mix.