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Why is CF4 more ionic than CH4? To me it seems that the electronegativity difference is more between C and H than between C and F just because H is farther from C than F is. Is there something else that I didn’t put into account?
If you look up the electronegativity values of H, C, and F, they are 2.1, 2.5, and 4.0 respectively. So, the electronegativity values for Carbon and Hydrogen are a lot closer than the value for Fluorine. Just because they appear closer on the periodic table doesn't necessarily mean their values are closer.
Fluorine is much more electronegative than Hydrogen is because Fluorine has a greater electron affinity (increases from left to right and down to up) and a higher ionization energy (energy needed to remove the most loosely attached electron). Because the electronegativity of Fluorine is greater compared to Hydrogen, there is also a greater difference between this electronegativity value and that of Carbon. Basically, the Fluorine atoms have a stronger hold on the shared electrons as compared to the hold that Hydrogen has, so the covalent bonds of CF4 exhibit more ionic character.
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