Is H2S Polar or Nonpolar?

  • When you talk about any molecule, you try to figure out the main features of its structure. Which atom is more electronegative? How are the atoms arranged in it? Juggling many of these questions keeps you interested in learning them.

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless molecule with the chemical formula H2S. It is toxic and smells like rotten eggs, so is H2S polar or non-polar? H2S is a slightly polar molecule because of its bent geometry and the small difference between the electronegativities of Hydrogen (2.2) and Sulfur (2.58) resulting in a non-zero dipole moment. Other properties of H2S are:

  • It readily reacts with metal ions to produce metal sulfides.
  • It is dangerous and toxic, especially for people who breathe oxygen.
  • As a corrosive, it destroys metals such as copper which turn green after the reaction.

It was discovered in 177 by a chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele. This gas is produced by the human body and we use it as a signaling molecule.

What do you mean about poles?

Polarity is described as how electrons are distributed in a molecule. It shows where the most electronegative atom will attract and pull electrons. Let’s explore it by learning what little is known about the concept of electronegativity as well as its polarity. Electronegativity represents an element’s ability to attract electrons. Therefore elements that attract more electrons will be more electronegative. Electronegativity determines the distribution of electrons to find the polarity of the molecule.

What is a polar molecule?

Since a molecule is neutral, it is said to be polar when one side has a more negative charge than the other side. Example – Water (H2O) is a polar molecule because the more electronegative Oxygen has, the higher the electron concentration is than the other atom of the molecule i.e. Hydrogen is positively charged. You can see the reason for the polarization of H2O. like SO2, NH3, etc are also polar molecules, for non-polar molecules like CO2 you can check the reason for the nonpolarity of CO2.

How can you distinguish between polar and non-polar molecules?

Polar molecules have unequal electron sharing i.e. the charges are not balanced. But in non-polar molecules, there are relatively equal numbers of electrons. Example – You know oxygen (O=O) is very electronegative but, it is not polar. Both atoms in the O2 molecule have equal electronegativity, meaning they share the same number of electrons. Therefore, the O2 molecule is nonpolar. Molecules consisting of the same element like H2, N2, Cl2 etc are called dipoles, by default they are nonpolar molecules. Hydrocarbons such as methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6), etc. containing the elements hydrogen and carbon are also called nonpolar molecules.

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How to check the polarity of H2S?

Before you learn about the polarity of the molecule, H2S, let’s talk about its bond polarity. The bond polarity is calculated when the atoms of the molecule have partial positive and negative charges.

The importance of electronegativity

If the electronegativity difference of the two elements is greater than or equal to 0.5, the bond is polar. With atomic number 16, Sulfur pulls both electrons of Hydrogen to complete the final shell and gain a negative charge. Hydrogen becomes positive-charged. Therefore, the electronegativity of Sulfur is greater than the electronegativity of the Hydrogen atom As you know, in the periodic table, electronegativity increases from left to right and decreases from top to bottom. The electronegativities of Hydrogen and Sulfur are 2.20 and 2.58, respectively. Their electronegativity difference, 0.38, is less than 0.5. Thus, H2S is a non-polar bond, because Sulfur is more electronegative than Hydrogen, so it is partially negative. As a result, it produces a dipole moment, moreover, the dipole moment is depicted by an arrow pointing to a more electronegative atom. In the case of the compound H2S, the dipole moment is expressed from Hydrogen (delta +) to Sulfur (delta-).

The importance of geometric shapes

To determine the polarity of any molecule like H2S, it is equally important to find out the outer atom and its shape.Having two unique electron pairs on the central sulfur atom causes the HS bond to bend. Therefore, the molecule has an odd distribution of atoms around the central atom making it asymmetrical. Due to its bent shape, a dipole moment is generated between the HS bonds. The greater the separation of charges, the greater the dipole moment between the atoms. Therefore, sulfur attracts more electrons and gains a partial negative charge. Hydrogen is partially positively charged because it now has less positive charge left. Since the dipole moment has direction and magnitude, it is a vector quantity. It is directed towards the more electronegative atom. When the arrows do not cancel each other, the molecule becomes polar.

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The Importance of the Dipole Moment

The dipole element of a molecule shows how polar it is. The greater the polarity of a molecule, the greater the value of its dipole moment. It can also be defined as the product of the charge of two atoms and the distance between them.D = Q * CHEAPD = dipole moment Q = charge on atoms R = distance between them

Uses of H2S

  • It is used to produce hydrogen and sulfuric acid.
  • It is widely used in industry for the production of various inorganic compounds.
  • It is used to produce pesticides for crops on a larger scale.
  • Hydrogen sulfide has great uses as heavy water used in nuclear power plants.


To calculate the polarity of any molecule, it is necessary to consider certain factors before you draw conclusions.

  • How does bond polarity affect the polarity of the molecule?
  • How to determine the polarity direction of a molecule?
  • Does shape affect polarity?
  • How do symmetry and asymmetry help to find the polarity of a molecule?

H2S is a polar molecule with hydrogen atoms bonded outside the central sulfur atom. It has an asymmetrical bend that creates a dipole moment between the atoms. Sulfur is more electronegative than Hydrogen. This means that Sulfur has more electrons than the second molecule, as you know the electronegativity difference of H2S molecule is 0.4, which is considered negligible and has weak polarity. H2S is thought to be a non-polar molecule, which is a special case that should be taken into account. According to certain studies, for a molecule to be polar, the electronegativity must be between 0.5 and 2.

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Frequently asked questions

Q1. Name compounds with polar bonds. A1. Compounds with polar bonds are Water (H2O), Ammonia (MH3) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2).Q2. What is dipole moment? How do you calculate its magnitude? A2. The dipole moment is represented by a special arrow pointing from the partially positive end to the partially negative end. In the case of a molecule with more than two atoms, there are two possibilities – a) When the dipole moment is reduced remove i.e when the arrow is in opposite direction its magnitude is zero. Non-polar molecule. B) Arrows between the central atom and other atoms point away from or toward the central atom. In this case, the magnitude of the dipole moment is greater than zero making it a polar molecule.Q3. Write the electronegativities of the elements. A3. Oxygen- 3.44 Magnesium- 1.31 Chlorine- 3.16 Sodium- 0.93Q4. Calculate the electronegativity difference between the CH4 and CO2 molecules.A4. a) CH4 Carbon- 2.55, Hydrogen- 2.20 Electronegativity difference is- 2.55-2.20 = 0.35CH4 is a nonpolar molecule because the dipole moments between the atoms cancel each other out . b) SO2Sulfur- 2.58, Oxy- 3.44 is-3.44- 2.58 = 0.86CO2 is a polar molecule because the dipole moment between the atoms does not cancel each other and the magnitude is greater than 0 .

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Posts “Is H2S Polar or Nonpolar?” posted by on 2021-08-12 11:54:05. Thank you for reading the article at

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