A commonly-used example of a polar compound is water (H2O). The electrons of water's hydrogen atoms are strongly attracted to the oxygen atom, and are actually closer to oxygen's nucleus than to the hydrogen nuclei; thus, water has a relatively strong negative charge in the middle (red shade), and a positive charge at the ends (blue shade).

Water is a polar compound. The electrons of water's hydrogen atoms are strongly attracted to the oxygen atom, and are actually closer to oxygen's nucleus than to the hydrogen nuclei; thus, water has a relatively strong negative charge in the middle (red shade), and a positive charge at the ends (blue shade).

The electric field of the dipole is usually presented in undergraduate physics as the first step after point charges in understanding more complex charge distributions. Dipoles are especially important because of how important they are to understanding chemistry. Many molecules are permanent dipoles, such as water.

Electrostatic force may exist between such molecules. In near proximity, the positive pole of one molecule will be attracted to the negative pole of another.

This type of force interaction between molecules is one type of intermolecular force. Dipole-dipole, hydrogen bonding and London dispersion forces are the three types of intermolecular forces. Intermolecular force is responsible for many of the physical and solubility properties of substances.