Covalent bond

A covalent bond forming H2 (right) where two hydrogen atoms share the two electrons

A covalent bond is a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electrons to form electron pairs between atoms. These electron pairs are known as shared pairs or bonding pairs. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms, when they share electrons, is known as covalent bonding.[1] For many molecules, the sharing of electrons allows each atom to attain the equivalent of a full valence shell, corresponding to a stable electronic configuration. In organic chemistry, covalent bonding is much more common than ionic bonding.

Covalent bonding also includes many kinds of interactions, including σ-bonding, π-bonding, metal-to-metal bonding, agostic interactions, bent bonds, three-center two-electron bonds and three-center four-electron bonds.[2][3] The term covalent bond dates from 1939.[4] The prefix co- means jointly, associated in action, partnered to a lesser degree, etc.; thus a "co-valent bond", in essence, means that the atoms share "valence", such as is discussed in valence bond theory.

In the molecule H
, the hydrogen atoms share the two electrons via covalent bonding.[5] Covalency is greatest between atoms of similar electronegativities. Thus, covalent bonding does not necessarily require that the two atoms be of the same elements, only that they be of comparable electronegativity. Covalent bonding that entails the sharing of electrons over more than two atoms is said to be delocalized.

  1. ^ Whitten, Kenneth W.; Gailey, Kenneth D.; Davis, Raymond E. (1992). "7-3 Formation of covalent bonds". General Chemistry (4th ed.). Saunders College Publishing. p. 264. ISBN 0-03-072373-6.
  2. ^ March, Jerry (1992). Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reactions, Mechanisms, and Structure. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-60180-2.
  3. ^ Gary L. Miessler; Donald Arthur Tarr (2004). Inorganic Chemistry. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-035471-6.
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster – Collegiate Dictionary (2000).
  5. ^ "Chemical Bonds". Retrieved 2013-06-09.

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