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Chemical Bonds

A chemical bond is the electrostatic attraction between two or more atoms strong enough to allow the atoms to act as a single unit.

The formation of chemical bonds usually involves the valence electrons; therefore it is very important to know and understand Lewis dot symbols.

The Driving Force

The driving force behind chemical bonding is the tendency of atoms to gain or lose electrons in order to obtain a noble gas valence. This is known as the octet rule.

Two basic types:

  • Ionic bonds are formed by the transferring of electrons from one atom to another. The atom losing the electron becomes a cation (+) while the atom gaining the electron becomes an anion (-).
  • Covalent bonds are formed by the sharing of electrons between atoms with similar electronegativities. This sharing is not necessarily equal and creates partial charges on the bonds.
    • polar bonds are covalent bonds in which the electrons are not shared equally.
    • non-polar bonds are covalent bonds in which the electrons are shared equally.

NOTE: These two types represent extremes, most bonds between the atoms of different elements tend to have some character of each type.