Which out of NH3 and NF3 has higher dipole moment and why?


Which out of NH3 and NF3 has higher dipole moment and why?


In both molecules i.e., NH3 and NF3, the central atom (N) has a lone pair electron and there are three bond pairs. Hence, both molecules have a pyramidal shape. Since fluorine is more electronegative than hydrogen, it is expected that the net dipole moment of NF3 is greater than NH3. However, the net dipole moment of NH3 (1.46 D) is greater than that of NF3 (0.24 D).

This can be explained on the basis of the directions of the dipole moments of each individual bond in NF3 and NH3. These directions can be shown as:

Thus, the resultant moment of the N–H bonds add up to the bond moment of the lone pair (the two being in the same direction), whereas that of the three N – F bonds partly cancels the moment of the lone pair.

Hence, the net dipole moment of NF3 is less than that of NH3.

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