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In a perfectly symmetrical trigonal bipyramidal molecule do the dipole moments all cancel like they do in a symmetrical tetrahedral or can these molecules still be polar?
In a trigonal bipyramidal shaped molecule, the polar bonds wouldn't cancel so this molecule would still be considered polar. If you look at the geometry you can see that it is not symmetrical in such a way that the dipole moments would cancel.
For molecules that are highly symmetrical, like the trigonal bipyramidal, octahedral, and tetrahedral, the individual dipoles will usually cancel out, as they are typically non-polar molecular structures. However, if some of the atoms attached to a trigonal bipyramidal molecule, for example, are not the same, then it can become a polar molecule. Take CH4Cl, while it is in a trigonal bipyramidal shape, the electronegativity of the chlorine atom will pull more electrons toward it and create a dipole moment that makes the molecule polar.
In addition to shape it is also important to note which atoms compose the molecule and their respective electronegativities.
Different atoms often have differences in electronegativity which causes them to be polar even if their geometry is symmetrical.
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