What is a Covalent Bond and Why Is It Important?

covalent bond

What is a Covalent Bond and Why Is It Important?

Posted on the 29th of Aug 2023 by Westlab

Chemistry helps us understand how nature works at the sub-atomic level. The main thing in chemistry is how atoms stick together, making everything we see and use. One way atoms stick together is by sharing some tiny parts called electrons. This sharing is called a Covalent Bond, and it's very strong.

Think of these electrons as the outer layer of an atom. When atoms share these electrons, they become steady and happy - like Hydrogen (H2), Oxygen (O2), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Water (H2O), and other common gases we know.

Why do atoms like sharing? 

They want to be stable and balanced. By sharing with nearby atoms, they find this balance. Atoms, by default, seek their most stable configuration. Sharing valence electrons with neighboring atoms offers a pathway to this balanced state.

What Are The Types of Covalent Bond?

Covalent bonds describe as the sharing of electron pairs between atoms. The type of covalent bond mainly formed depends on the atoms involved and their respective electronegativities. Different types of covalent bonds give molecules distinct properties and reactivities. 

Based on how many electron pairs are shared, covalent bonds are categorized into the following types.

Single-Covalent Bond 

When one pair of electrons (two electrons) is shared between two atoms, it forms a single covalent bond. A single line between the bonding atoms denotes it. For instance, the bond between the two hydrogen atoms in a hydrogen molecule (H2O) is a single covalent bond.

Double Covalent Bond

Two pairs of electrons (four electrons) shared between two atoms form a double covalent bond. It's represented by two parallel lines. Oxygen (O2) is a common example, where two oxygen atoms are put together by a double bond.

Think of oxygen like two friends holding hands twice. Each friend (oxygen atom) has six tiny parts but needs two more to be complete. So, they share two parts each by holding hands two times.

Triple Covalent Bond

This involves sharing three pairs of electrons (six electrons) between two atoms. Triple bonds are depicted by three parallel lines. An example is nitrogen (N2), where two nitrogen atoms are bound by a triple covalent bond.

Cyanide (CN–) is like a team of two parts: carbon and nitrogen. Carbon needs four more buddies to be complete, and nitrogen needs three. So, they team up and share three buddies, like holding hands three times. Because carbon has an extra buddy, the whole team has a negative charge.

Coordinate Covalent Bond (or Dative Bond) 

In this type of bond, one of the bonding atoms provides both electrons for sharing, while the other atom does not contribute any electron to the bond. This is commonly seen in the formation of complex ions.

In the carbon monoxide (CO) molecule, the carbon and oxygen atoms are joined by three shared connections, like three hands holding together. In this reaction, oxygen will share all her ions with carbon, while carbon will share nothing. 

Polar Covalent Bond

When two different atoms share electrons but do so unevenly, resulting in a slight charge difference across the bond, it forms a Polar Covalent Bond. The molecule has a more positive and negative end but is not as distinct as in an ionic bond. Water (H2O) is an example of oxygen being slightly negative and the hydrogens being slightly positive.

Nonpolar Covalent Bond 

When two atoms share electrons evenly, the bond has no charge difference. Examples include Oxygen (O2) or Nitrogen (N2) bonds.

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Why Is Covalent Bond Essential?

Covalent bond represent the intricate dance of nature to achieve stability and diversity. Their role in crafting the molecular fabric of life and the physical world around us is indispensable.

Here are some key points why we need covalent bond in nature. 

1. Super Strong

Covalents are super strong. They're the toughest type of bonds out there. One of the most common examples of them all together is diamond - it is so strong because it has pure covalent bonds.

2. Everywhere in Nature

 Covalent bonds are all around us. From the water we drink to the air we breathe out and DNA, we have in our body, it is everywhere. Even our DNA, which is like our body's instruction manual, has these bonds.

3. Essential for Life

 These bonds keep essential proteins (which help our body work) and our food's energy source together. Therefore, they are quite essential to sustain a balanced life. Some other examples are carbohydrates (our primary energy source) and nucleic acids (the carriers of genetic information).

4. They Decide How Stuff Behaves

Have you noticed some things melt quickly and others don't? These bonds help decide this. They affect how substances act, like when they melt or boil. Water boils more quickly than milk or juice because Covalent Bonding in water allows it to break sooner than milk bonds.

5. They Help Make New Things

Covalent ions let atoms share tiny parts. This sharing can make new and different stuff. This is super useful in many chemical changes that create various substances.

Simply put, our diverse and complex molecular world would not exist without covalent properties. Like our Education Supplies in life, molecular supplies and bonding are also important. 

From enabling the formation of complex life-essential molecules to dictating the properties of everyday substances, covalent bond are indeed the unsung heroes of the molecular world. Their significance is a testament to the beautiful intricacies of chemistry and its profound impact on our universe.

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2023-08-29 07:50:00
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