Chemical Bonding: Ionic vs. Covalent Bonds

Chemical bonding is a fundamental concept in chemistry. This describes how two atoms fuse to form molecules. Chemical bonding happens all the time around us. Most of the time, we remain unaware of this phenomenon. For example, the oxygen we breathe in is formed because of chemical bonding. Many factories use chemical bonding for industrial purposes. Two types of chemical bonds happen during such processes. They are ionic and covalent. In this blog, we will explain both of them with some real-world examples. Keep reading –

Ionic Bonds

Ionic bonds are formed between two atoms with significantly different electronegativities. Electronegativity measures the atom’s ability to attract and hold onto electrons. In an ionic bond, one atom loses electrons while the other gains. This results in an electrostatic attraction. This attraction between the oppositely charged ions holds them together. By taking professional chemistry homework help, you can understand this in greater detail.

Properties of Ionic Bonds

  1. Electrostatic Attraction

The primary force holding ionic compounds together is the strong electrostatic attraction between the positively charged cations and the negatively charged anions. This attraction is responsible for the high melting and boiling points of ionic compounds. If you need practical examples of the same, you can always hire someone like MyAssignmenthelp.co.uk and get chemistry homework help.

  • Solubility

Ionic compounds are often soluble in water and other polar solvents. When ionic compounds dissolve, the ions separate and disperse throughout the solution due to interactions with water molecules. To understand such concepts better, consider hiring a chemistry homework helper like Tophomeworkhelper.

  • Conductivity

In the solid state, ionic compounds do not conduct electricity. Its ions are held in a fixed lattice, which prevents conductivity. However, when dissolved in water or molten, they can conduct electricity as the ions are free to move and carry an electric current.

Examples of Ionic Bonds

  • A classic example of an ionic bond is sodium chloride (NaCl) or table salt. Sodium (Na) donates an electron to chlorine (Cl), forming Na⁺ and Cl⁻ ions. The resulting electrostatic attraction holds the ions together in a crystalline structure.
  • Another example is calcium fluoride (CaF₂), where calcium (Ca) forms Ca²⁺ ions, and fluoride (F) forms F⁻ ions, creating an ionic bond.

Covalent Bonds

Covalent bonds, on the other hand, are formed when two atoms share electrons. In covalent bonds, the complete transfer of electrons doesn’t happen. Instead, these are characterized by how the atoms share the electrons between them. These bonds occur between atoms with similar electronegativities.

Properties of Covalent Bonds

  1. Electron Sharing

In covalent bonds, electrons are shared between the participating atoms. This sharing creates a strong bond between the atoms. However, the full transfer of electrons doesn’t happen in this case.

  • Solubility

Covalent compounds are insoluble in water. But some of them can dissolve in nonpolar solvents. However, they do not dissociate into ions when dissolved in water. This is why they are not great conductors of electricity.

  • Varied Physical States

Covalent compounds can exist as solids, liquids, or gases at room temperature, depending on their molecular structure.

Examples of Covalent Bonds

  • One of the best examples of a covalent bond is a molecular hydrogen (H₂). Each hydrogen atom shares one electron with the other. This bond forms a stable H-H molecule.
  • Water (H₂O) is another covalent compound that we can find in abundance around us. In a water molecule, oxygen shares electrons with two hydrogen atoms, forming a covalent bond. The shared electrons create a bent molecular structure.

There are a few key differences between the two types of chemical bonds. They are –

  1. Electron Sharing vs. Electron Transfer

Electrons are transferred from one atom to another in ionic bonds. However, in covalent bonds, electrons are shared.

  • Electronegativity

Ionic bonds are usually formed between atoms with differences in electronegativity. In contrast, covalent bonds are more common between atoms with similar electronegativities.

  • Physical Properties

Ionic compounds tend to have high melting and boiling points and are often solids at room temperature. Covalent compounds can exist in various states at room temperature and typically have lower melting and boiling points.

  • Conductivity

Ionic compounds can conduct electricity when dissolved in water. They also act as a conductor while in a molten state. However, covalent compounds do not conduct electricity when dissolved. Covalent compounds don’t have any free ions, which makes them bad conductors.

This blog helps you to understand how chemical bonds influence the properties of the compounds around us. Understanding the differences is essential for comprehending the various chemical compounds in the world. You may be a chemistry student or simply curious about the substances surrounding you. This knowledge provides valuable insights into this and makes us more knowledgeable.