Dipole Moment

The polarity of a covalent molecule is measured in terms of its dipole moment. By definition, “The product of the charge present on one pole and the bond length of a bond is called dipole moment (bond moment) of the respective bond.”

Formula of Dipole moment (µ)

µ  = e  ×  d

 Where e = charge on one atom, d = bond length

For most of the covalent bonds, the charge produced on the bonded atoms is of the order of 10-10 esu and the bond length is of the order of 10-8 cm. Hence, the dipole moment of most of the covalent bonds is of the order of 10-18 esu-cm, which is called 1 Debye. Thus,

µ   = 10-10 esu ×  10-8 cm

     =  10-18 esu-cm

     =   1 Debye

Being a vector quantity, if a molecule contains several polar covalent bonds, then the resultant dipole moment of the molecule is obtained from the vector sum of the bond moments of different bonds. 

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