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ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry Hypertext > Theoretical Chemistry > Chemical Bonding > Covalent Bonds vs Ionic Bonds

Covalent Bonds vs Ionic Bonds

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There are two types of atomic bonds - ionic bonds and covalent bonds. They differ in their structure and properties. Covalent bonds consist of pairs of electrons shared by two atoms, and bind the atoms in a fixed orientation. Relatively high energies are required to break them (50 - 200 kcal/mol). Whether two atoms can form a covalent bond depends upon their electronegativity i.e. the power of an atom in a molecule to attract electrons to itself. If two atoms differ considerably in their electronegativity - as sodium and chloride do - then one of the atoms will lose its electron to the other atom. This results in a positively charged ion (cation) and negatively charged ion (anion). The bond between these two ions is called an ionic bond.

  Covalent Bonds Ionic Bonds
State at room temperature: Liquid or gaseous Solid
Polarity: Low High
Formation: 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. Non-metals(-ve ion) are "stronger" than the metal(+ve ion) and can get electrons very easily from the metal. These two opposite ions attract each other and form the ionic bond.
Shape: Definite shape No definite shape
Melting point: low High
What is it?: Covalent bonding is a form of chemical bonding between two non metallic atoms which is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between atoms and other covalent bonds. Ionic bond, also known as electrovalent bond, is a type of bond formed from the electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions in a chemical compound. These kinds of bonds occur mainly between a metallic and a non metallic atom.
Boiling point: Low High
Examples: Methane (CH4), Hydrochloric acid (HCl) Sodium chloride (NaCl), Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4 )
Occurs between: Two non-metals One metal and one non-metal

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Last modified
08:37, 30 Jul 2015

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