Is SCl2 Polar or Nonpolar?

Answer: SCl2 is a polar molecule due to the presence of lone pairs of electrons on the central sulfur atom. This results in a bent structure and thereby induces a permanent dipole within the molecule. 

SCl2 is actually an energetically favorable reaction to occur. Although the electronegativity of chlorine (3.16) in some respects cancels out the effects of the lone pair electron on sulfur (2.58), the compound still has strong dipole-dipole interactions leading to a melting point of -121°C and a boiling point of 59°C. This means that the compound is a liquid at standard temperature and pressure. Sulfur dichloride has been described as a "cherry-red" liquid.   

SCl2 Ball and Stick Model
SCl2 Ball and Stick Model. Created with MolView.

How is SCl2 utilized in the real world?

Sulfur dichloride is typically utilized as a precursor molecule in other reactions. These either involve the addition of sulfurs and chlorines to a certain compound or the addition of sulfur to other organic molecules. When the molecule encounters water, it will release hydrochloric acid (HCl). The structure cannot have many other uses because it is quite irritating to the skin and reacts violently with a wide variety of compounds including water and acetone. Therefore caution is advised when handling SCl2. In most cases, it should be kept away from any part that might come into contact with/near an open flame. It can also cause serious burns.   

Is Sulfur Dichloride covalent or ionic?  

There are certain mixtures of sulfur, chlorine, and hydrogen sulfide will form an ionic solid. This solid does not react with water but it forms salts that are toxic if inhaled (really anything with sulfur and chloride will be). However, sulfur dichloride in particular is covalent due to the fact that both sulfur and chlorine are nonpolar gases with similar electronegativities. They are required to "share" their electrons and don't ionize easily within water (i.e. separate into their constituent parts). Therefore SCl2 is a covalent molecule.

How does SCl2 react with water? 

The reaction of SCl2 with aqueous solution of water is shown in the following equation. SCl 2 + H 2 O → HCl (solution) + sulfur-containing compound. SCl2 undergoes a process called Hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is  the process by which a compound instead of becoming aqueous reacts with water directly in order to form new products. This occurs due to the covalent nature of sulfur dichloride and the fact that both sulfur and chlorine have higher electronegativity than most other elements. 

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