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It would be nice to add to our bonding model a way to understand or even to predict which of these types of bonding is expected for a particular solid. This would allow us to understand or predict the properties of the solid from the properties of the atoms which make it up. How shall we begin?

The most consistent trend we have seen is that bonding appears quite different for metals, non-metals, and combinations of metals and non-metals. At least from what we have observed so far, metal atoms bond to metal atoms with metallic bonding (hence the name!), metal atoms bond to non-metal atoms with ionic bonding, and non-metal atoms bond to non-metal atoms with covalent bonding. This suggests that we look at the differences between metal atoms and non-metal atoms. From our previous concept study, we know one major difference: the electronegativity of non-metals is quite high, whereas the electronegativity of metals is typically much lower.

Let’s break this down in terms of the three types of bonding. The easiest case is ionic bonding. In this case, we have combined a metal with a non-metal, like Na with Cl, so we have combined atoms with high electronegativity with atoms with low electronegativity. Apparently, atoms with these properties tend to attract each other with ionic bonding. This makes sense: with very different electronegativities, the atoms are not likely to share bonding electrons. It is likely that the very electronegative atoms will form negative ions and the weakly electronegative atoms with form positive ions, and the oppositely charged ions will attract each other. Thus, our model can be that, when a compound contains atoms with very different electronegativities, the compound is likely to be ionic bonded and have the properties of an ionic solid.

By process of elimination, the remaining types of bonding, metallic and covalent, must involve atoms with similar electronegativities. But something must distinguish these two in a way that we can predict. Metallic bonding is expected when all the atoms are metals and therefore have low electronegativity. Covalent bonding is expected when all the atoms are non-metals and therefore have relatively high electronegativity.

Here is the general summary for our model:

  • When the bonded atoms in a compound all have low electronegativity, we should predict metallic bonding and the compound should be a solid with metallic properties.
  • When the bonded atoms in a compound have very different electronegativities, we should predict ionic bonding and the compound should be a brittle, non-conducting solid.
  • When the bonded atoms in a compound all have high electronegativity, we should predict covalent bonding.

In the last case, there are many types of solids possible, and the properties of a covalent compound depend very much on the types of solid which is formed. To illustrate, diamond and ammonia NH 3 are both covalent compounds, but the properties of these two compounds could hardly be more different. We’ll need a more extensive model to predict what type of covalent compound will form.

This model leads to a simple picture for a reasonable prediction of the type of bonding. We need to consider both the differences in electronegativity between the atoms in a compound as well as the actual magnitudes of the electronegativities, either high or low. This means that, at least for binary compounds (those involving only 2 elements), we can create a chart showing both the magnitude of the electronegativities of the atoms (taken as an average of the two electronegativities) and the difference between the two electronegativities. We wind up with a chart that looks like a triangle, as in [link] . In fact, this is called a “bond type triangle.” A few compounds are shown on the triangle to illustrate how this model can be used successfully to predict the type of solid from the atoms involved.

Discussion questions

  1. Explain why the low ionization energy of a metal atom is important to the bonding in the metal.
  2. The four metals Sc, Ti, V, and Cr have increasing nuclear charge in the order listed but have only small differences in ionization energy. On the basis of the electron configurations of these elements, explain this unexpected lack of variation.
  3. It is often argued that alkali metals form ionic bonds with halogens (e.g. NaCl) because the Na atom can form an octet of electrons by losing it valence electron, thus lowering its energy. Using experimental data, demonstrate that this is an incorrect model for explaining the formation of an ionic bond.
  4. From the data in [link] and [link] , identify three trends in the variation of lattice energies amongst these compounds, and explain these variations on the basis of Coulomb’s law.
  5. When a metal can be shaped into a spring, the metal can be stretched but will return to it original shape when released. Explain this behavior in terms of the bonding model of a metal. Suggest a reason why a salt cannot be used to make a spring.
  6. Looking at the carbon atom network in diamond illustrated in [link] , we could imagine that the bonding electrons are delocalized over the entire network, as in our electron sea model of a metal. Provide and explain experimental data which demonstrate that the electron sea model does not apply to solid carbon.
  7. Why is it necessary to consider both electronegativity differences between bonded atoms and the average electronegativity of bonded atoms when analyzing the type of bond which is formed?
  8. Why is the bond type diagram in [link] a triangle? That is, why is it not possible to observe compounds over the entire range of average electronegativity and electronegativity difference?

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Concept development studies in chemistry 2012. OpenStax CNX. Aug 16, 2012 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11444/1.4
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