Is C2H6 Polar or Nonpolar?

Answer: C2H6 (ethane) is a nonpolar molecule because it contains only nonpolar covalent bonds (C-H) bonds with both parts of the molecule cancelling out any small charge to ensure that there is no dipole moment. 


At standard temperature and pressure C2H6 is a gas due to its relatively low molecular mass for a hydrocarbon allowing for only weak London Dispersion Forces. Since it is a nonpolar molecule, few permanent dipole-dipole interactions can occur. This is unlike the unequal distribution of charge found in CH2F2 where some of the outer molecules were more electronegative. If some of the hydrogen molecules in this molecule were replaced with more electronegative elements that would open the possibility of polar interactions. 

If you are interested in more hydrocarbons, feel free to check out this article concerning the polarity of benzene


C2H6 Ball and Stick Model
C2H6 Ball and Stick Model. Created with MolView.
How is ethane utilized in the real world?

Oftentimes ethane (which is a saturated hydrocarbon because it only contains single bonds) is converted to ethene (an unsaturated hydrocarbon with a carbon double bond instead of a single bond). Ethene can then be utilized in a wide variety of reactions to create detergents, hasten fruit ripening or make plastic by polymerization. Ethane can itself also be utilized as a refrigerant. The molecule is oftentimes a by-product of petroleum production.

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