Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. At room temperature, CCl4 exists as a liquid. It has a melting allude of around -23 degrees Celcius. That is boiling suggest is 76 degrees Celcius.

You are watching: Is carbon tetrachloride ionic or covalent

CCl4 is a poison gas the depletes the ozone layer and is frequently known as a greenhouse gas.

It was a well-known solvent in organic chemistry, but, that is rarely provided today since of the adverse health effects.

Henri Victor Regnault, a French chemist, very first produced tetrachloromethane in the year 1839. Chloroform and also chlorine were merged to do it.

These days, tetrachloromethane is made by treating methane with chlorine. The complying with is the reaction:

CH4 (Methane) + 4Cl2 (chlorine) ———> CCl4 + 4 HCl (acid)

Is CCl4 (carbon tetrachloride) a covalent compound? In the next part, we’ll uncover out.

Four chlorine atoms and one carbon atom make up a CCl4 molecule. Because each chlorine atom is one electron quick of one octet construction (complete shell) and carbon is 4 electrons brief of a complete valence covering of eight, 4 chlorine atoms share electrons with the four valence electrons of carbon, resulting in complete outer shells for all 5 atoms.

The bond so formed in between carbon and also chlorine is a covalent bond since it is created by share electrons. This renders CCl4 a covalent compound.


As chlorine and also carbon atoms share their outer electrons, chlorine attains the electronic configuration of argon and carbon attains that of neon.

As a result, while forming covalent binding both the chlorine and carbon atoms essentially have outer shells with 8 electrons.

Well, that was a fresh answer. Now let me talk about the covalent nature the CCl4 in detail.

Before we dig into the details the covalent binding in methane, let’s begin from the basics. First, i will explain the varieties of bonds.

Ionic bonds

An ionic bond development takes place due to the permanent transfer that valence (outermost) electrons of one atom to one more atom.

Electrostatic attraction between positively and negatively fee ions causes these bonds come form.

The atom which loses electrons i do not care a positively charged ion or cation conversely, the atom which gains electrons i do not care a negatively charged ion or anion.

Covalent Bonds

Elements with incredibly high ionization energies can’t shed electrons, and also those with incredibly low electron affinity can’t expropriate them.

Such elements’ atoms try to re-superstructure electrons with atoms that other aspects or with the very same element’s atoms, causing an octet arrangement in both valence shells.

A covalent bond have the right to be polar or nonpolar based upon electronegativity difference.

Non-polar covalent bond

A non-polar covalent shortcut is formed when two atoms share electron equally. In a non-polar covalent bond, the electronegativity difference of the bonded atom is usually really small.

It also method that there is no fee separation in between those two atoms or the their electronegativity is identical.

Polar Covalent Bond

A polar covalent shortcut is formed due to the unequal sharing of electron pairs between two atoms.

According come the Pauling scale, the electronegativity gap between the bonded atoms should be in between 0.4 and 1.7 or roughly 2.

Factors affecting the formation of Covalent Bond

The development of the covalent bond between the atoms is affected by several factors as displayed below:

Electron affinityIonization energyThe variety of valence electronsAtomic sizeElectronegativity

Let me explain in detail how these determinants favor a covalent bond.

Electron affinity

It describes the energy difference that occurs once an atom gains a valence electron. The formation of a covalent link is favored once the reacting atoms have similar electron affinities.

High Ionization Energy

Atoms that have actually high ionization energies favor to type covalent bonds.

The basic reason is the they can’t type cations. This is since it is very challenging for them to shed their valence electrons, i beg your pardon are necessary for ionic bonding.

Chlorine has a an extremely high ionization power of chlorine is 1251.2 kJ/mole while carbon has 1086.5 kJ/mole. Owing to the high ionization enthalpy that both aspects it is easier to form a covalent bond in between them.

Atomic Size

Another residential property that facilitates the creation of a solid covalent shortcut is the smaller atomic size.

When it involves forming covalent bonds in between two atoms, the covalent radius is used to identify how far apart the participating valence electrons of both atoms are.

Each atom’s covalent radius would be fifty percent of the distance between the two nuclei in the case of forming a covalent radius.

This is the case because an equal number of valence electron participate and are present at one equal distance from one another, and with one equal pressure of attraction on the other atom.

As a result, the smaller an atom is, the closer it is come the nucleus. The electrons would certainly be under strong molecular attraction making it complicated for lock to leaving the atom.

So instead of completely transferring the electrons v an ionic bond, the atom would favor a covalent link via share of electrons.

The smaller size of both chlorine and carbon atom facilitates the formation of a covalent bond.


It is an atom’s home that causes it to attract the mutual electron pair in the direction of it. The Pauling range helps united state to calculation the electronegativity that the atoms.

Ionic bond are defined as chemical bonds in i m sorry the electronegativity difference in between two atoms in a chemical bond is better than 2.0 (In some texts it is pointed out as 1.7). If the difference is much less than 2.0 on the Pauling scale, a covalent bond is present.

Chlorine has actually an electronegativity the 3.16, and carbon has actually 2.55. The electronegativity difference in between carbon and also hydrogen is 3.16 – 2.55 = 0.61. Due to this distinction in electronegativity, the C-Cl link is polar. As a result, every of the 4 C-Cl bonds has actually a dipole moment value too.

Let’s view if CCl4 is a polar or non-polar molecule.

The outermost covering of the carbon atom has 4 electrons, and every one of them get involved in the development of covalent bond with four chlorine atoms, leaving no lone pair top top the carbon atom.


With one s orbital and also three ns orbitals, carbon tetrachloride creates sp3 hybridization. The bond edge in the CCl4 molecule is about 109.5 degrees, forming a tetrahedral geometry.

The tetrahedral molecule geometry that CCl4 cancels out the dipole moment since all 4 bonds (C-Cl) are symmetrical and have one equal charge distribution. Hence CCl4 is non-polar.

The variety of Valence Electrons

When each of the combining atoms has actually 5, 6, or 7 electrons in the valence shell, the development of a covalent link is preferred. This is why non-metals from the Oxygen, Nitrogen and also Halogen family members tend to kind covalent bonds.

The covalent bonding in carbon is a special case which is defined briefly below:

Covalent Bonding in Carbon Atom

To become stable, Carbon’s electronic configuration demands it to acquire or lose four electrons, which seems unlikely because:

1. Carbon can not receive 4 electrons to turn into a carbon anion (C4-) since six proton cannot carry ten electrons, bring about the atom to become unstable.

2. Carbon can not give four electrons to turn into a carbocation (C4+) due to the fact that doing so would take a lot of energy, and C4+ would certainly only have two electrons retained by the proton, making it unstable as soon as more.

Since carbon cannot expropriate or donate electrons, the only option left is share electrons to finish its nearest noble gas configuration and thereby kind a covalent bond.

Uses of CCl4

Used as a halogenation solvent as well as an industrial fumigant.It’s terrific source that chlorine for making chlorine-based essential compounds.Owing come the lack of hydrogen atoms in the CCl4 molecule, the is likewise useful in NMR spectroscopy.Carbon Tetrachloride is widely used in fire extinguishers since it stays clear of fires by extinguishing fire flames.Used in the detection that neutrinos.Used to disclose watermarks ~ above postage stamps and also in rubber stamp collecting.


Carbon Tetrachloride or CCl4 is a symmetrical molecule with 4 chlorine atom attached to a central carbon atom. It has a tetrahedral geometry. Fan to the high electron affinity and tiny size of carbon and chlorine atom it develops a covalent C-Cl bond.

The shortcut is a polar covalent bond as result of the electronegativity difference. The molecule as a totality is non-polar because the dipole moments are canceled out.

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In this article, ns have questioned the simple concepts of chemical bonding and also the nature of bond in CCl4. You re welcome feel free to ask any questions friend may have actually in the comments section. We will certainly respond as quickly as possible.