Image Water molecule showing polarity

TLF ID M008783

This is a colour graphic representation of a water molecule. It depicts the structural formula of water superimposed on a space-filling model and an electron-density isosurface. The diagram is colour-coded to show the dipole nature of the molecule.

Educational details

Educational value
  • Shows how the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a water molecule are connected. The structural formula shows the chemical symbol for each atom connected by lines representing single covalent bonds. The angle between the bonds is about 104.5 degrees.
  • Illustrates how the atoms are covalently bonded by the sharing of electrons. This is shown in the space-filling model, in which the electron clouds of the atoms are represented as spheres. The electron clouds of the atoms can be seen to overlap.
  • Shows the overall shape of the water molecule. This is represented by the outer isosurface, which connects points of equal electron density. This surface can be thought of as the surface of the molecule, although electron density fades gradually rather than abruptly falling to zero.
  • Shows that the water molecule has an electric dipole. The shared electrons of the covalent bonds are attracted more strongly to the oxygen atom and, because of the 104.5-degree bond angle, the oxygen end of the molecule bears a negative charge while the other end is positive. As a result, water molecules attract each other strongly - an effect known as hydrogen bonding.
Learning area
  • Science

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: University of Waikato
  • Organization: University of Waikato
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: NEW ZEALAND
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd 2011 (except where otherwise indicated). You may copy, communicate and adapt this metadata for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.