Wondering Why?

Why are Electrons shared in covalent Compounds?

Why are Electrons shared in covalent Compounds?

Covalent compounds have molecules that are flexible and not hard. The molecules in the covalent compound are easy to move. They do not have any bonds in between them. In the case of ionic bond electrons are transferred from one atom to another. In covalent bonding the electrons are only shared between the atoms and not completely transferred. Covalent bonding occurs between two nonmetal atoms. The nonmetal atoms share electrons with each other due to their electro negativities. Electro negativity is defined as the extent of electrons dragged away by an atom from the other atom to form a bond. Metal atoms are less electronegative and nonmetal atoms are highly electronegative. Nonmetal atoms tend to pull the electrons.

In the case of ionic bonding, metal atoms bond with nonmetal atoms. Hence one atom is more electronegative and the other is less electronegative. Electrons are totally moved from one atom to the other. In covalent bonding both the bonding atoms are equally electronegative. None of them tend to pull the electrons from the other one but share with each other.

To share electrons between the atoms in covalent bonding the electron clouds from each atom overlap. The electrons are not totally possessed by any one of the two atoms. The electrons are concentrated in the middle of the two atoms and are dragged by the nucleus of the two atoms. But no atom will lose or gain electrons completely. Hence they only share electrons instead of pulling them totally to one side. The electron number that is shared is necessary to fulfill the octet rule. Equal and unequal sharing results in formation of non-polar and polar covalent bonds respectively.

Electrons are shared instead of getting transferred in covalent bonding due to high electro negativities of the two nonmetal atoms. The difference in electro negativities of the two atoms is negligible and hence atoms share the electrons rather than pulling them to one side.


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