What is an electric dipole?

A dipole is an intermolecular bond that binds two ions in an Ionic bond or two covalent bonds. These bonds occur when electrons are not shared equally and there is a separation in charge within a molecule. The strength of a dipole moment is determined by the electronegativity differences between the elements. Dipoles have direction, as well as magnitudes. Take water (H2O) for an example. The electrons of the oxygen atom are much more electronegative than those of the hydrogen atoms. It will therefore pull electrons away the hydrogens in order to move them toward it. The net dipole is directed towards the very electronegative oxygen. !

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