Is Benzene Polar or Nonpolar?

Answer: Benzene is a nonpolar molecule due to the presence of a large number of nonpolar carbon-hydrogen bonds spaced out in equal proportion around the molecule ring. 

Benzene's carbon ring displays resonance with either the structure as shown in the image below or with its single-double bonds switching places while maintaining their equidistant spacing. In a sense on average each space within the ring between two carbon atoms contains 1.5 bonds; however this is typically drawn as two resonance structures because the molecule will spend half of its time in one form and half of its time in the other form.

The symmetrical nature of benzene has been verified through x-ray crystallography. This definitely showed that the bondlengths between the carbons were constant as were the angles between the different atoms.  The molecule is considered to be "planar" because it doesn't have a 3D (z-axis) distinct shape. Furthermore, the theory of 1.5 bonds was also given a boost due to the distance between the carbons being shorter than a single bond (weaker attraction) but not as short as a double bond (stronger attraction).

Benzene Ball and Stick Model
Benzene Ball and Stick Model (one of two resonance structures). Created with MolView.
How is benzene utilized in the real world?

Oftentimes benzene is the constituent/starter carbon compound from which more complex carbon rings and compounds are built in order to carry out a wide variety of specific applications. However, benzene's most famous use is in gasoline in order to support the efficient operation of car engines. Due to health and environmental concerns, the percentage of benzene is typically limited to 1% in the U.S. and .62% in the European. In fact, benzene's largest contribution may have been its own name which translates to the word gasoline in many European languages. For example, Benzin in German stands for gasoline. 

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