- covalent bond
Chem.the bond formed by the sharing of a pair of electrons by two atoms.[1960-65]
* * *Force holding atoms in a molecule together as a specific, separate entity (as opposed to, e.g., colloidal aggregates; see bonding).In covalent bonds, two atoms share one or more pairs of valence electrons to give each atom the stability found in a noble gas. In single bonds (e.g., H―H in molecular hydrogen), one electron pair is shared; in double bonds (e.g., O=O in molecular oxygen or H2C=CH2 in ethylene), two; in triple bonds (e.g., HC≡CH in acetylene), three. In coordinate covalent bonds, additional electron pairs are shared with another atom, usually forming a functional group, such as sulfate (SO4) or phosphate (PO4). The number of bonds and the atoms participating in each (including any additional paired electrons) give molecules their configuration; the slight negative and positive charges at the opposite ends of a covalent bond are the reason most molecules have some polarity (see electrophile; nucleophile). Carbon in organic compounds can have as many as four single bonds, each pointing to one vertex of a tetrahedron; as a result, certain molecules exist in mirror-image forms (see optical activity). Double bonds are rigid, leading to the possibility of geometric isomers (see isomerism). Some types of bonds, such as the amide linkages that join the amino acids in peptides and proteins (peptide bonds), are apparently single but have some double-bond characteristics because of the electronic structure of the participating atoms. The configurations of enzymes and their substrates, determined by their covalent bonds (particularly the peptide bonds) and hydrogen bonds, are crucial to the reactions they participate in, which are fundamental to all life. See also aromatic compound; Compare ionic bond.
* * *DPin chemistry, the interatomic linkage that results from the sharing of an electron pair between two atoms. The binding arises from the electrostatic attraction of their nuclei for the same electrons. A covalent bond forms when the bonded atoms have a lower total energy than that of widely separated atoms.A brief treatment of covalent bonds follows. For full treatment, see chemical bonding: Covalent bonds (chemical bonding).Molecules that have covalent linkages include the inorganic substances hydrogen, nitrogen, chlorine, water, and ammonia (H2, N2, Cl2, H2O, NH3) together with all organic compounds. In structural representations of molecules, covalent bonds are indicated by solid lines connecting pairs of atoms; e.g.,A single line indicates a bond between two atoms (i.e., involving one electron pair), double lines (=) indicate a double bond between two atoms (i.e., involving two electron pairs), and triple lines (≡) represent a triple bond, as found, for example, in carbon monoxide (C≡O). Single bonds consist of one sigma (σ) bond, double bonds have one σ and one pi (π) bond, and triple bonds have one σ and two π bonds.The idea that two electrons can be shared between two atoms and serve as the link between them was first introduced in 1916 by the American chemist G.N. Lewis (Lewis, Gilbert N.), who described the formation of such bonds as resulting from the tendencies of certain atoms to combine with one another in order for both to have the electronic structure of a corresponding noble-gas atom.Covalent bonds are directional, meaning that atoms so bonded prefer specific orientations relative to one another; this in turn gives molecules definite shapes, as in the angular (bent) structure of the H2O molecule. Covalent bonds between identical atoms (as in H2) are nonpolar—i.e., electrically uniform—while those between unlike atoms are polar—i.e., one atom is slightly negatively charged and the other is slightly positively charged. This partial ionic character of covalent bonds increases with the difference in the electronegativities of the two atoms. See also ionic bond.
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