Covalent bonds are formed when atoms share electrons, one from each
atom in a single bond, to form electron pairs, usually making their
outermost shells up to eight electrons by this means. This would make
them more stable, less reactive and an electronic structure like a
They are most frequently formed between pairs of non-metallic
elements. Non-metallic elements usually have from four to eight
electrons in their outermost shells, the so-called valency electrons,
which are used for chemical bonding. In any given “full” shell of
eight electrons, the electrons occur in four pairs, but in incomplete
shells, the electrons exist singly where possible.
Sometimes, atoms of elements form covalent bonds with other atoms of
the same element. Thus two chlorine atoms form the chlorine molecule,
Cl2, by sharing their unpaired electrons. In the case of oxygen (O2),
there are two unpaired valency electrons in each atom, so that two
electron-pair bonds are formed between the two atoms to complete their
octet of electrons, a double bond.
Covalent bonds can also be formed in such a way as to form a giant
molecule, such as happens in diamond. Here, each of the four valency
electrons of a carbon atom is shared with one of the valency electrons
of another carbon atom, so that every carbon atom in the structure has
four different carbon atoms bonded to it.
In simple molecules, the molecules are held together by strong
covalent bonds, but the bonds between different molecules are
relatively weak, and therefore easily broken. Many compounds
containing covalent bonds, therefore, are liquids or gases a...
... middle of paper ...
...ated with ionic compounds means that much energy
is required to break these bonds.
They are soluble in water. This is because water is a so-called
ionizing solvent, because of its polar nature. The water molecule is
capable of attaching itself to both positive and negative ions, water
is therefore capable of carrying away the ions into solution (in the
form of "hydrated" ions), so that the solid eventually dissolves.
Non-polar solvents do not dissolve ionic solids.
Compounds containing ionic bonds also conduct electricity when in
solution (water) or when molten. This is because both the solution and
the molten compound contain ions that can move about when an electric
current is passed through. Solid ionic compound cannot conduct
electricity as the ions are held in their rigid lattice, and are not
free to move.
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