Is CH3Br Polar or Nonpolar?

Answer: CH3Br is a slightly polar molecule due to the slightly negative dipole present on the Br molecule since it is the most electronegative element in the entire structure. 

When you compare the electronegativity of hydrogen (2.20), carbon (2.55) and bromine (2.96), it seems as though the bonds between them are all nonpolar covalent which would thereby indicate a nonpolar molecule. The polar dipole is actually created by the sum of the differences between the different molecules. The small difference between carbon and hydrogen creates a very small electron pull towards the center of the molecule. The slightly larger difference between Bromine and Carbon then pulls these electrons towards the Bromine, creating a slightly negative dipole. The sum of these effects create partially positive dipoles on the hydrogen atoms.

As a result of the very slight polar charge, the molecule has a weaker dipole moments and therefore a low boiling point of 4˚C. This means that it is typically found as a gas at standard temperature and pressure even though it is much much larger than a molecule like H2O in terms of molar mass.

CH3Br has a tetrahedral structure similar to CH4 (methane). The difference is that one of the hydrogens has been replaced by Bromine (a much larger halide). Feel free to learn more about either the Lewis Dot Structure of CH4 or whether CH4 is polar or nonpolar.

CH3Br Ball and Stick Model
CH3Br Ball and Stick Model. Created with MolView. 
How is this chemical utilized in the real world?

For a good portion of the twentieth century this chemical was synthetically created as a pesticide. It was widely utilized in agriculture throughout Australia, China, New Zealand and the United States. However, after the compound was shown to deplete the ozone level, it was gradually phased out from use and replaced by alternative pesticides. The molecule has more of a tendency to deplete the ozone level since the large difference in element size makes it far easier to undergo a chemical reaction with light energy stimulus. Furthermore, the pesticide has been shown to have dangerous effects on human health.

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