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Bonding    Hybridization    Atomic Orbitals    Molecular Orbital Theory    VSEPR Theory   

Covalent bonding

Covalent bonding covers a large part of the bond triangle as the elements involved may differ considerably in their electronegativity.


A covalent bond is formed when atoms "share" a pair of electrons with one another so they can complete their outer shell. When two radical (neutral, containing an unpaired electron) species combine, this type of bond is formed. An example of this is when two hydrogen (H) atoms bond together to form H2: 2HH2. This is looked at in more detail on the following page.

Covalent bonds are formed when both elements are electronegative (having a strong attraction to electrons), i.e. non-metals. In these elements, the valence electrons are held tightly to the nucleus so they are not lost or transferred.

Covalent bonds are found in small molecules, which may be gases, liquids or solids at normal temperatures. They also occur in some extended structures. In condensed phases (liquids and solids), covalent bonds may be accompanied by non-covalent van der waals forces.


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