How do the shapes of molecules determine their physical and chemical properties? Provide examples.

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llltkl | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Consider CO2 and SO2. CO2 is linear in shape, with the two oxygen atoms stretched around central carbon atom. Here, the two C=O bonds, though individually polar, mutually cancels out each other's polarity making the molecule nonpolar. SO2, on the other hand is angular, so two S-O  bond moments never cancel out each other making the molecule polar, with nonzero dipole moment. Hence the physical and chemical properties of these two molecules vary accordingly, depending upon their molecular shapes.


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