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H 2 ( g ) 2 H ( g ) Δ H = 436 kJ

Conversely, the same amount of energy is released when one mole of H 2 molecules forms from two moles of H atoms:

2H ( g ) H 2 ( g ) Δ H = −436 kJ

Pure vs. polar covalent bonds

If the atoms that form a covalent bond are identical, as in H 2 , Cl 2 , and other diatomic molecules, then the electrons in the bond must be shared equally. We refer to this as a pure covalent bond    . Electrons shared in pure covalent bonds have an equal probability of being near each nucleus.

In the case of Cl 2 , each atom starts off with seven valence electrons, and each Cl shares one electron with the other, forming one covalent bond:

Cl + Cl Cl 2

The total number of electrons around each individual atom consists of six nonbonding electrons and two shared (i.e., bonding) electrons for eight total electrons, matching the number of valence electrons in the noble gas argon. Since the bonding atoms are identical, Cl 2 also features a pure covalent bond.

When the atoms linked by a covalent bond are different, the bonding electrons are shared, but no longer equally. Instead, the bonding electrons are more attracted to one atom than the other, giving rise to a shift of electron density toward that atom. This unequal distribution of electrons is known as a polar covalent bond    , characterized by a partial positive charge on one atom and a partial negative charge on the other. The atom that attracts the electrons more strongly acquires the partial negative charge and vice versa. For example, the electrons in the H–Cl bond of a hydrogen chloride molecule spend more time near the chlorine atom than near the hydrogen atom. Thus, in an HCl molecule, the chlorine atom carries a partial negative charge and the hydrogen atom has a partial positive charge. [link] shows the distribution of electrons in the H–Cl bond. Note that the shaded area around Cl is much larger than it is around H. Compare this to [link] , which shows the even distribution of electrons in the H 2 nonpolar bond.

We sometimes designate the positive and negative atoms in a polar covalent bond using a lowercase Greek letter “delta,” δ, with a plus sign or minus sign to indicate whether the atom has a partial positive charge (δ+) or a partial negative charge (δ–). This symbolism is shown for the H–Cl molecule in [link] .

Two diagrams are shown and labeled “a” and “b.” Diagram a shows a small sphere labeled, “H” and a larger sphere labeled, “C l” that overlap slightly. Both spheres have a small dot in the center. Diagram b shows an H bonded to a C l with a single bond. A dipole and a positive sign are written above the H and a dipole and negative sign are written above the C l. An arrow points toward the C l with a plus sign on the end furthest from the arrow’s head near the H.
(a) The distribution of electron density in the HCl molecule is uneven. The electron density is greater around the chlorine nucleus. The small, black dots indicate the location of the hydrogen and chlorine nuclei in the molecule. (b) Symbols δ+ and δ– indicate the polarity of the H–Cl bond.


Whether a bond is nonpolar or polar covalent is determined by a property of the bonding atoms called electronegativity    . Electronegativity is a measure of the tendency of an atom to attract electrons (or electron density) towards itself. It determines how the shared electrons are distributed between the two atoms in a bond. The more strongly an atom attracts the electrons in its bonds, the larger its electronegativity. Electrons in a polar covalent bond are shifted toward the more electronegative atom; thus, the more electronegative atom is the one with the partial negative charge. The greater the difference in electronegativity, the more polarized the electron distribution and the larger the partial charges of the atoms.

Questions & Answers

combination of acid and base
Ayibiro Reply
that salt
calculate the mass in gram of NaOH present in 250cm3 of 0.1mol/dm3 of its solution
Omego Reply
The mass is 1.0grams. First you multiply the molecular weight and molarity which is 39.997g/mol x 0.1mol/dm3= 3.9997g/dm3. Then you convert dm3 to cm3. 1dm3 =1000cm3. In this case you would divide 3.9997 by 1000 which would give you 3.9997*10^-3 g/cm3. To get the mass you multiply 3.9997*10^-3 and
250cm3 and get the mass as .999925, with significant figures the answer is 1.0 grams
nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony and Bismuth
faith Reply
What is d electronic configuration of for group 5
Miracle Reply
Can I know d electronic configuration of for group 5 elements
2:5, 2:8:5, 2:8:8:5,...
Pls what are d names of elements found in group 5
define define. define
Muh Reply
what is enthalpy
Ayilaran Reply
total heat contents of the system is called enthalpy, it is state function.
background of chemistry
Banji Reply
what is the hybridisation of carbon in formic acid?
Maham Reply
sp2 hybridization
what is the first element
Josh Reply
Element that has positive charge and its non metal Name the element
account for the properties of organic compounds
mercy Reply
properties of organic compounds
what's the difference between molecules and compounds
Amha Reply
A compound can be a molecule however compounds must contain more than one element. For example ozone, O3 is a molecule but not a compound.
what is che? nd what is mistry?
What's elixir?
An Elixir is a substance held capable of changing base metals into Gold.
Give an example for each of the six groups of element
Francis Reply
what is chemistry
Hosanna Reply
chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the study of the composition, structure and behaviour of matter.
chemistry is the study of the composition, properties, and interactions of matter
Which of the following orbitals are possible in an atom: 4d, 2d, 2f, and 6f?
4d and 6f
what are the properties of periodic? list an explain one.
Vincent Reply
Practice Key Terms 5

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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