Is CHCl3 Polar or Nonpolar?

Answer: CHCl3 is a polar molecule due to the large electronegativity difference between hydrogen (2.20) and chlorine (3.16). This induces a permanent dipole across the molecule with a partial positive charge on the hydrogen atom and a partial negative charge on the chlorine atoms. 

Since the one hydrogen on the structure (2.20) is outnumbered by three very electronegative chlorines (3.16), chloroform has a quite strong dipole moment. As a result the molecule has a melting point of -64°C and a boiling point of 61°C. This means that the compound is a liquid at standard temperature and pressure. While it is not incredibly soluble in water, it has much higher solubility in less polar solvents such as alcohol. The molecule is produced naturally by many kinds of seaweed and fungi.

CHCl3 Ball and Stick Diagram
CHCl3 Ball and Stick Diagram. Created with MolView.
How is CHCl3 utilized in the real world?

Chloroform is utilized a solvent for a wide variety of materials including fats and rubbers. It also provides -CCl2 groups in reactions. Historically it was utilized as an anesthetic but it was abandoned in the early 1900s since many persons experienced cardiac arrest as a side effect. It has been labelled a "hazardous" material and possible carcinogen. It is recommended that one limit exposure whenever possible. 

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