Is NOCl Polar or Nonpolar?

Answer: NOCl is a polar molecule due to the presence of a lone pair of electrons on the central nitrogen atom. The resulting electron-electron repulsion leads to a bent structure. Therefore, the structure has a permanent dipole due to the unequal distribution of charge. 

The impact of the lone-pairs in creating a region of negative charge on the nitrogen is dented by the opposing chlorine and oxygen atoms on the other side of the molecule. Due to the great electronegativity of these molecules -3.16 and 3.44, respectively- there is also a natural tendency for these atoms to pull electrons/negative charge towards themselves. This decreases the overall strength of the permanent dipole. Therefore the molecule is a gas at Standard Temperature and Pressure (STP) with a melting point of -59˚C and a boiling point of -5.5˚C. While is is higher than many nonpolar molecules, it is lower than molecules capable of hydrogen bonding such as water or ammonia.

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

NOCl is often called Tilden's reagent. It can be utilized in a wide variety of organic chemistry reactions where it typically oxidizes some molecule. It is utilized in industrial processes to produce nylon-6 since the molecule can be broken up into its constituent Cl and NO parts with photon energy.

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