XeF4 Polar or Nonpolar

Is Xenon Tetrafluoride Polar or Nonpolar? Find Out Here

The polarity of XeF4 has created debate for Science enthusiasts because some of its properties can be polar on nonpolar. XeF4 or Xenon Tetrafluoride is a colorless crystalline substance and the first discovered binary chemical compound of Xenon. 

Our team spent 36 hours of intensive research to give you the full details on XEF4 polar or nonpolar.

XeF4: Is It Polar or Nonpolar?

Xenon tetrafluoride XeF4 is a nonpolar compound because of its symmetrical square planar structure. One way to determine if XeF4 is polar or nonpolar is by drawing its Lewis Structure. Since there are 36 valence electrons in the compound, Xenon with two lone pairs of valence will help with the repulsion. 

The nonbonding electrons will be in a plane, and the four Fluorine atoms will form a planar. The structure will be symmetrical; therefore, XeF4 is a nonpolar molecule. The compound has two lone pairs of electrons placed opposite to each other, making the molecule symmetric. Nonpolar molecules are symmetric because all sides around the central atom Xenon are identical [1].

XeF4: Is It Polar or Nonpolar?

On the other hand, according to Pauli Scale, the single Xe-F bond is polar because of its electronegativity difference on the chemical equation. However, since four Xe-F bonds create a vector sum of zero dipoles in the individual bond dipoles, XeF4 is a nonpolar molecule. 

Name of Molecule

Xenon Tetrafluoride

Molecular Mass


Dipole Moment

0 Debye

Bond Angle

90o or 180o



Molecular Geometry/Shape

Square Planar

Understanding Its Molecular Formation & Structure

The molecular structure and formation of the Xenon Tetrafluoride can be a basis to verify if XeF4 is a polar or nonpolar molecule. In the chemical compound XeF4, The noble gas central Xe atom reacts with the Fluorine atoms. 

Four electrons will create bonding orbitals and will be placed on the side of the central atom. When the hybridization takes place on the two atoms, it will produce an octahedral geometry. The Xenon valence shell has two electrons in 5s and six electrons in 5p orbital. As the two electrons fill the vacancies, it will create sp2d2 hybridization.

Understanding Its Molecular Formation & Structure

Factors That Determine XeF4 Polarity

Factors That Determine XeF4 Polarity

XeF4 Charge Build Up

The charge build-up on the compound can determine the molecular polarity of XeF4. When the negative charge at the end of the molecule accumulates along with the positive charge on the other side, the molecules are polar.  

The formal charge for XeF4 is zero, and since the XeF4 molecular geometry is symmetrical due to the bond formation and dipole moments, the molecule is considered nonpolar. In addition, the individual Xe-F bonds are said to be covalent because it shares the electrons, with this the bonds making the molecule nonpolar. 

XeF4 Dipole Moment

Another indicator if the XeF4 is polar or nonpolar is to compute the net dipole moment of the molecules. To compute, multiply the charge by the distance separation of the atom. When the molecule has a net dipole moment, the compound is polar; however, since the charge of XeF4 is zero, the net dipole moment will be zero. 

Since Xenon and Fluorine atoms form a polar bond, XeF4 can be considered a nonpolar molecule. In addition, Xe-F bonds are in the same position, which creates the vector sum of net effective dipole moment zero. 

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XeF4 Molecular Shape

Xenon Tetrafluoride is a combination of noble gas Xe and F atoms and, you can draw the Lewis Structure to determine its physical structure. The XeF4 has a total of 36 valence electrons, and because the central Xenon atom with twelve atoms has two lone pairs. It will help with the repulsion and will create a perpendicular plane. 

In addition, the four Fluorine bonds will form a planar because XeF4 has an electronic geometry of octahedral. With this, the shape of the structure will become symmetrical and make the compound a nonpolar molecule. 

XeF4 Electronegativity

The electronegativity difference of a compound is produced when force is exerted on atoms. As the bond occurs, all the atoms hold their electronegativity. There is a chance for high or low electronegativity. As the atom creates a higher electronegativity, it attracts an electron pair from the bonding partner and creates an uneven sharing of electrons. 

Since XeF4 has unshared pairs, the electronegativity difference forms polar covalent bonds with the valence electrons. The Xe-F bond is a polar molecule because of the electronegativity differences. However, since each bond has zero dipoles, XeF4 is considered a nonpolar molecule.


Yes, XeF4 is a dipole dipole. Since the charge for XeF4 is imbalanced due to the lone pair on one side that produced a tetrahedral shape, it has a dipole-dipole attraction between nonpolar molecules.

XeF4 is not tetrahedral because the compound has four bonding pairs plus two unshared pairs that produce a different shape. On the other hand, a tetrahedral requires four bonding pairs only.

Key Takeaways

The most common question when it comes to Xenon tetrafluoride is, Is XeF4 polar or nonpolar? XeF4 reacts with water and forms xenon oxide, oxygen, hydrogen fluoride, Xenon Trioxide and helps with trace metal impurities and create noble gases.

As discussed, XeF4 is nonpolar because it produces a symmetrical square planar molecular geometry. While the Xe and F form a polar covalent bond, it cancels out the dipole, making the molecule nonpolar.


  1. https://chem.libretexts.org/Courses/Sacramento_City_College/
Sarah Pace

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