Is CCl4 Ionic or Covalent? - Techiescientist (2023)

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

CCl4 is a poisonous gas that depletes the ozone layer and is often known as a greenhouse gas.

It was a popular solvent in organic chemistry, but, it is rarely used today because of its adverse health effects.

Henri Victor Regnault, a French chemist, first produced tetrachloromethane in the year 1839. Chloroform and chlorine were combined to make it.

These days, tetrachloromethane is manufactured by treating methane with chlorine. The following is the reaction:

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

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

Four chlorine atoms and one carbon atom make up a CCl4 molecule. Since each chlorine atom is one electron short of an octet configuration (complete shell) and carbon is 4 electrons short of a complete valence shell of eight, four chlorine atoms share electrons with the four valence electrons of carbon, resulting in full outer shells for all five atoms.

The bond so formed between carbon and chlorine is a covalent bond since it is formed by sharing electrons. This makes CCl4 a covalent compound.

Is CCl4 Ionic or Covalent? - Techiescientist (1)

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

(Video) Is CCl4 (Carbon tetrachloride ) Ionic or Covalent/Molecular?

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

Well, that was a crisp answer. Now let me discuss the covalent nature of CCl4 in detail.

Before we dig into the details of covalent bonds in methane, let’s start from the basics. First, I will explain the types of bonds.

Contents show

Ionic bonds

An ionic bond formation takes place due to the permanent transfer of valence (outermost) electrons of one atom to another atom.

Electrostatic attraction between positively and negatively charged ions causes these bonds to form.

The atom which loses electrons becomes a positively charged ion or cation whereas the atom which gains electrons becomes a negatively charged ion or anion.

Covalent Bonds

Elements with extremely high ionization energies can’t lose electrons, and those with extremely low electron affinity can’t accept them.

(Video) Ionic and Covalent Bonding - Chemistry

Such elements’ atoms try to share electrons with atoms of other elements or with the same element’s atoms, resulting in an octet arrangement in both valence shells.

A covalent bond can be polar or nonpolar based on electronegativity difference.

Non-polar covalent bond

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

It also means that there is no charge separation between those two atoms or that their electronegativity is identical.

Polar Covalent Bond

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

According to the Pauling scale, the electronegativity gap between the bonded atoms should be between 0.4 and 1.7 or approximately 2.

Factors affecting the formation of Covalent Bond

The formation of the covalent bond between the atoms is influenced by several factors as shown below:

  1. Electron affinity
  2. Ionization energy
  3. The number of valence electrons
  4. Atomic size
  5. Electronegativity

Let me describe in detail how these factors favor a covalent bond.

Electron affinity

It refers to the energy difference that occurs when an atom gains a valence electron. The formation of a covalent bond is favored when the reacting atoms have comparable electron affinities.

High Ionization Energy

Atoms that have high ionization energies prefer to form covalent bonds.

The simple reason is that they can’t form cations. This is because it is very difficult for them to lose their valence electrons, which are needed for ionic bonding.

(Video) Chemical Bonding - Ionic vs. Covalent Bonds

Chlorine has a very high ionization energy of chlorine is 1251.2 kJ/mole while carbon has 1086.5 kJ/mole. Owing to the high ionization enthalpy of both elements it is easier to form a covalent bond between them.

Atomic Size

Another property that facilitates the creation of a strong covalent bond is the smaller atomic size.

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

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

This is the case since an equal number of valence electrons participate and are present at an equal distance from one another, as well as with an equal force of attraction on the other atom.

As a result, the smaller an atom is, the closer it is to the nucleus. The electrons would be under strong molecular attraction making it difficult for them to leave the atom.

So instead of completely transferring the electrons through an ionic bond, the atom would prefer a covalent bond via sharing of electrons.

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


It is an atom’s property that causes it to draw the mutual electron pair towards it. The Pauling scale helps us to calculate the electronegativity of the atoms.

Ionic bonds are described as chemical bonds in which the electronegativity difference between two atoms in a chemical bond is greater than 2.0 (In some texts it is mentioned as 1.7). If the difference is less than 2.0 on the Pauling scale, a covalent bond is present.

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

(Video) Chemical Bonding | Ionic and Covalent | Grade 9 Science Quarter 2 Week 2

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

The outermost shell of the carbon atom has four electrons, and all of them participate in the formation of covalent bonds with four chlorine atoms, leaving no lone pair on the carbon atom.

Is CCl4 Ionic or Covalent? - Techiescientist (2)

With one s orbital and three p orbitals, carbon tetrachloride forms sp3 hybridization. The bond angle in the CCl4 molecule is around 109.5 degrees, forming a tetrahedral geometry.

The tetrahedral molecular geometry of CCl4 cancels out the dipole moment since all four bonds (C-Cl) are symmetrical and have an equal charge distribution. Thus CCl4 is non-polar.

The number of Valence Electrons

When each of the combining atoms has 5, 6, or 7 electrons in its valence shell, the formation of a covalent bond is preferred. This is why non-metals from the Oxygen, Nitrogen and Halogen families tend to form covalent bonds.

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

Covalent Bonding in Carbon Atom

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

1. Carbon can’t receive four electrons to turn into a carbon anion (C4-) because six protons cannot carry ten electrons, causing the atom to become unstable.

2. Carbon can’t give four electrons to turn into a carbocation (C4+) because doing so would take a lot of energy, and C4+ would only have two electrons retained by the proton, making it unstable once more.

Since carbon cannot accept or donate electrons, the only option left is sharing electrons to complete its nearest noble gas configuration and thereby form a covalent bond.

(Video) Ionic and Covalent Bonds | Chemical Bonding

Uses of CCl4

  1. Used as a halogenation solvent as well as an industrial fumigant.
  2. It’s an excellent source of chlorine for making chlorine-based organic compounds.
  3. Owing to the lack of hydrogen atoms in the CCl4 molecule, it is also useful in NMR spectroscopy.
  4. Carbon Tetrachloride is widely used in fire extinguishers because it avoids fires by extinguishing fire flames.
  5. Used in the detection of neutrinos.
  6. Used to reveal watermarks on postage stamps and in stamp collecting.


Carbon Tetrachloride or CCl4 is a symmetrical molecule with four chlorine atoms attached to a central carbon atom. It has a tetrahedral geometry. Owing to the high electron affinity and small size of carbon and chlorine atom it forms a covalent C-Cl bond.

The bond is a polar covalent bond due to the electronegativity difference. The molecule as a whole is non-polar since the dipole moments are canceled out.

In this article, I have discussed the basic concepts of chemical bonding and the nature of bonds in CCl4. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section. We will respond as soon as possible.


Is CCl4 ionic or covalent bond? ›

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is known as a covalent compound because it contains four non-polar covalent bonds between carbon and chlorine.

Is CCl4 a ionic compound? ›

Why CCl4 is not an ionic compound? ›

They can't be ionic compounds because they're covalent compounds. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) form covalent bonds because two atoms share a pair of electrons.

Is CCl4 a covalent or molecular solid? ›

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is a non-polar molecular solid in which the carbon and chlorine molecules are bonded by a single covalent bond.

Is CCl4 polar or nonpolar covalent bond? ›

CCl4 is a nonpolar molecule.

Why is ccl4 polar covalent? ›

Chlorine being a halogen has a high effective nuclear charge that leads to high electronegativity that renders the carbon atom slightly electropositive. This electronegativity difference between carbon and chlorine makes their bond polar.

Is this an ionic or covalent bond? ›

A covalent bond is formed between two non-metals that have similar electronegativities. Neither atom is "strong" enough to attract electrons from the other. For stabilization, they share their electrons from outer molecular orbit with others. An ionic bond is formed between a metal and a non-metal.

Is calcium tetrachloride ionic or covalent? ›

It is formed between N and one H atom. Other molecules like calcium chloride contain covalent bonds, water also contains covalent bonds and there is also covalent bond present in carbon tetrachloride molecules.

What type of bond exist in CCl4? ›

(i) In CCl4 , covalent bond is formed. (ii) In CaCl2 , an ionic bond is formed. (b) Ionic bond is formed by the transfer of electrons from one atom to another. Covalent bond is present in the oxygen molecules.

What compound is CCl4? ›

Carbon tetrachloride, also known by many other names (such as tetrachloromethane, also recognised by the IUPAC, carbon tet in the cleaning industry, Halon-104 in firefighting, and Refrigerant-10 in HVACR) is an organic compound with the chemical formula CCl4.

Is CH4 ionic or covalent? ›

Methane, CH4, is a covalent compound with exactly 5 atoms that are linked by covalent bonds.

Is ccl2 ionic or covalent? ›

It's a covalent compound mainly because it's fairly impossible for a single carbon atom to form an ion by just chemical means. The structure of the compound is a little like water, i.e. bent in shape. Each C-Cl bond is 171.4 pm in length with an angle of 109.35 degrees between them.

How does CCl4 have polar bonds but is nonpolar? ›

The molecule of CCl4 is nonpolar in nature because of its symmetrical tetrahedral structure. However the C-Cl bond is a polar covalent bond, but the four bonds cancel the polarity of each other and form a nonpolar CCl4 molecule.

Which statement best explains why carbon tetrachloride CCl4 is non polar *? ›

The four bonds are symmetrical in nature and extend out in four different directions. Thus, the dipole moments in each direction is cancelled out. Hence, Carbon tetrachloride is a non polar molecule.

What is the name of the covalent compound CCl4 quizlet? ›

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4 ) is used as a propellant in aerosol cans.

How is CCl4 bond formed? ›

The bond so formed between carbon and chlorine is a covalent bond since it is formed by sharing electrons. This makes CCl4 a covalent compound. What is this? As chlorine and carbon atoms share their outer electrons, chlorine attains the electronic configuration of argon and carbon attains that of neon.

What is ionic vs covalent examples? ›

Ionic bonds usually occur between metal and nonmetal ions. For example, sodium (Na), a metal, and chloride (Cl), a nonmetal, form an ionic bond to make NaCl. In a covalent bond, the atoms bond by sharing electrons. Covalent bonds usually occur between nonmetals.

What are 5 examples of covalent bonds? ›

Five examples of covalent bonds are hydrogen (H₂), oxygen (O₂), nitrogen (N₂), water (H₂O), and methane(CH₄). 2. What is a covalent bond? A chemical bond involving the sharing of electron pairs between atoms is known as a covalent bond.

Is calcium ionic or covalent? ›

Both ionic and covalent bonding are also found in calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) has ionic bonding between calcium ion Ca2+ and a polyatomic ion, CO2−3, but within the carbonate ion (CO32-), the carbon and oxygen atoms are connected by covalent bonds (shown above).

What is the structure and bonding of ccl4? ›

In the carbon tetrachloride molecule, four chlorine atoms are positioned symmetrically as corners in a tetrahedral configuration joined to a central carbon atom by single covalent bonds. Because of this symmetrical geometry, CCl 4 is non-polar.

How many bonds does CCl4 have? ›

For this compound, there are four covalent bonds between the central Carbon atom and four chlorine atoms.

What are the properties of CCl4? ›

Properties of Carbon Tetrachloride

It has a sweet odour and colourless appearance. This compound's density in its liquid state corresponds to 1.5867 gms per cubic centimetre. The melting point of this molecule is given as -22.93 ⁰C, whereas the boiling point corresponds to 76.72 ⁰C.

How do you name covalent compounds in CCl4? ›

Answer and Explanation: The name of the compound CCl4 is carbon tetrachloride. When naming a covalent compound, the number of each element in the formula is used (with one exception). In the CCl4, there is one carbon atom and four chlorine atoms.

What does CCl4 mean in chemistry? ›

Also known as: Carbon tet, Perchloromethane, CCl4, Carbon chloride, Tetrachloromethane, Perc. Chemical reference number (CAS): 56-23-5. Carbon tetrachloride (Carbon tet) is a non-flammable colorless liquid with a heavy, sweet odor.

Is CH4 covalent or polar covalent? ›

Methane forms a non - polar covalent bond. This is because there is a very small difference in the electronegativity of carbon and hydrogen. Thus they are going to share their electrons fairly equally.

Is CH4 ionic or non ionic compound? ›

CH 4 is a covalent compound because the bond is formed by sharing of electron between C and H and both are non-metal. There is equal distribution of shared pairs of electrons in CH 4 .

Is CCl4 a single bond? ›

CCl4, carbon tetrachloride, is a molecule that contains four single covalent bonds, each between chlorine and carbon.

What is covalent bond What type of bond exist in CCl4 and ccl2? ›

Shared pairs or bonding pairs are the stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons, while covalent bonding is the stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons. In CCl4 the bond is covalent and in CaCl2 the bond is ionic.

Is CCl4 a metal or nonmetal? ›

What is the name of the binary nonmetal compound CCl4?

Does CCl4 have polar bonds but zero dipole? ›

Now we will be checking for $CC{l_4}$ so tetrachloromethane, has polar even but dipole moment is zero it is because of the shape of the molecule it is tetrahedral and it makes it very symmetrical and four polar bond each cancel each other out to produce zero dipole moment.

Why does CCl4 have no dipole? ›

Carbon tetrachloride is non polar molecule because the central carbon atom undergoes sp3 hybridization which results in regular tetrahedral geometry in which all the four C−Cl bond dipoles cancel each other. Hence, the molecule has no net dipole moment.

How do you know if a molecule is polar nonpolar or ionic? ›

If the difference of the electronegativity between the two elements is greater than 1.7 then the bond is ionic. The difference with a polar covalent bond is 0.5 to 1.7 and a nonpolar covalent bond is from 0 to 0.4.

What is the structure and bonding of CCl4? ›

In the carbon tetrachloride molecule, four chlorine atoms are positioned symmetrically as corners in a tetrahedral configuration joined to a central carbon atom by single covalent bonds. Because of this symmetrical geometry, CCl 4 is non-polar.

What is the structure of CCl4? ›

Carbon tetrachloride crystallizes in a monoclinic crystal lattice. The coordination geometry of this compound has a tetrahedral shape. The molecular shape of this compound is also tetrahedral. It can be noted that the central atom in this scenario is the carbon atom.

Is cacl2 covalent or ionic? ›

Calcium chloride is an ionic compound.


1. Is LiCl (Lithium chloride) Ionic or Covalent?
(Wayne Breslyn)
2. Ionic Bonds, Polar Covalent Bonds, and Nonpolar Covalent Bonds
(The Organic Chemistry Tutor)
3. Is HCl Ionic or Covalent/Molecular
(Wayne Breslyn)
4. How to identify ionic compounds and covalent compounds? - Dr K
5. Class 10 Chemistry Chapter 4 | Difference Between Covalent and Ionic Compound 2022-23
(Magnet Brains)
6. Illegal Chemical from a Vintage 1960s Extinguisher
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Madonna Wisozk

Last Updated: 02/11/2023

Views: 5920

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Madonna Wisozk

Birthday: 2001-02-23

Address: 656 Gerhold Summit, Sidneyberg, FL 78179-2512

Phone: +6742282696652

Job: Customer Banking Liaison

Hobby: Flower arranging, Yo-yoing, Tai chi, Rowing, Macrame, Urban exploration, Knife making

Introduction: My name is Madonna Wisozk, I am a attractive, healthy, thoughtful, faithful, open, vivacious, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.