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A sodium and a chlorine atom sit side by side. The sodium atom has one valence electron, and the chlorine atom has seven. Six of chlorine’s electrons form pairs at the top, bottom and right sides of the valence shell. The seventh electron sits alone on the left side. The sodium atom transfers its valence electron to chlorine’s valence shell, where it pairs with the unpaired left electron. An arrow indicates a reaction takes place. After the reaction takes place, the sodium becomes a cation with a charge of plus one and an empty valence shell, while the chlorine becomes an anion with a charge of minus one and a full valence shell containing eight electrons.
In the formation of an ionic compound, metals lose electrons and nonmetals gain electrons to achieve an octet.

Ionic bonds are formed between ions with opposite charges. For instance, positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged chloride ions bond together to make crystals of sodium chloride, or table salt, creating a crystalline molecule with zero net charge.

Certain salts are referred to in physiology as electrolytes (including sodium, potassium, and calcium), ions necessary for nerve impulse conduction, muscle contractions and water balance. Many sports drinks and dietary supplements provide these ions to replace those lost from the body via sweating during exercise.

Covalent bonds and other bonds and interactions

Another way the octet rule can be satisfied is by the sharing of electrons between atoms to form covalent bonds . These bonds are stronger and much more common than ionic bonds in the molecules of living organisms. Covalent bonds are commonly found in carbon-based organic molecules, such as our DNA and proteins. Covalent bonds are also found in inorganic molecules like H 2 O, CO 2 , and O 2 . One, two, or three pairs of electrons may be shared, making single, double, and triple bonds, respectively. The more covalent bonds between two atoms, the stronger their connection. Thus, triple bonds are the strongest.

The strength of different levels of covalent bonding is one of the main reasons living organisms have a difficult time in acquiring nitrogen for use in constructing their molecules, even though molecular nitrogen, N 2 , is the most abundant gas in the atmosphere. Molecular nitrogen consists of two nitrogen atoms triple bonded to each other and, as with all molecules, the sharing of these three pairs of electrons between the two nitrogen atoms allows for the filling of their outer electron shells, making the molecule more stable than the individual nitrogen atoms. This strong triple bond makes it difficult for living systems to break apart this nitrogen in order to use it as constituents of proteins and DNA.

The formation of water molecules provides an example of covalent bonding. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms that combine to form water molecules are bound together by covalent bonds, as shown in [link] . The electron from the hydrogen splits its time between the incomplete outer shell of the hydrogen atoms and the incomplete outer shell of the oxygen atoms. To completely fill the outer shell of oxygen, which has six electrons in its outer shell but which would be more stable with eight, two electrons (one from each hydrogen atom) are needed: hence the well-known formula H 2 O. The electrons are shared between the two elements to fill the outer shell of each, making both elements more stable.

View this short video to see an animation of ionic and covalent bonding.

Polar covalent bonds

There are two types of covalent bonds: polar and nonpolar. In a polar covalent bond    , shown in [link] , the electrons are unequally shared by the atoms and are attracted more to one nucleus than the other. Because of the unequal distribution of electrons between the atoms of different elements, a slightly positive ( δ +) or slightly negative ( δ –) charge develops. This partial charge is an important property of water and accounts for many of its characteristics.

Questions & Answers

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Dada Reply
The scientific study of life.
juanita
the virus that causes mumps in humans is composed of a protein outer Shell containing a core of DNA
Daniel Reply
Basic science and applied science question about cancer
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what are the importance of ATPs
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How can biology be studied from a microscopic approach to a global approach
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The large central opening in the poriferan body is called
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You go for a long walk on a hot day. Give an example of a way in which homeostasis keeps your body healthy.
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You sweat.
juanita
sweating is your bodies way of keeping you from overheating.
juanita
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Joyce
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biology is the study of life
IYANUYIMIKA
Biology is the study of Life
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is the branch of science which deals with the of living things.
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Gyamfi
Describe the steps and results of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park.
Natalia Reply
tag and release wolves into Yellowstone. wolves eventually reproduce and the pack grows. as wolves hunt they cull the sick and weak prey. the carcass that is left provides food for other species (scavengers and insect.. etc). this heals the circle of life and contributes to the biodiversity...
Will
before you know it species that are critical to the eco system return. having apex predators is crucial to an ecosystem... it helps run the deer and elk , etc around.
Will
example: there was a species of shrub/ plant that grows along river banks that moose love to eat.. the moose have no predator so they decimate that food source which also helps prevent erosion. when the wolves were reintroduced this changed. oddly enough this plant species started to repopulate in
Will
the areas where wolf feces sat and decayed
Will
which of the following statements about the parts of an egg are false?
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Monotremes include...?
Israel
medicinal plants including microbs
vijay Reply
,medicinal plants including microbes
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study of living organisms...
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study of plants and animals
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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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