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Can elements replace Hydrogen in polar molecules & act similarly?

  1. Nov 4, 2013 #1
    Today in 9th grade ADV Biology, we learned about how the two Hydrogen atoms in a Water molecule are relatively positive compared to the Oxygen atom. This is because the Oxygen's pull on Hydrogen's electron is greater than the Hydrogen's, or that its Electronegativity is greater. This unequal distribution in electrons is why Hydrogen is positive compared to Oxygen. Thus, they form very weak bonds, in which there is no exchange of electrons, with the negative pole of other polar molecules. This is purely the result of electrostatic attraction. This is the cause for the unusual characteristics of water, and its phases, and why things are adhesive & cohesive, as well as why our DNA is held together but split apart easily etc. I truly understand all this.

    But I asked a question my teacher couldn't answer, if all this is the result of H-Bonding, and that is the result of the electronegativity of Hydrogen, than what about atoms with similar electronegativity? What if Astitane (If it wasn't radioactive) Osmium Arsenic or Phosphorus replaced the Hydrogen atoms? Would they behave similarly in a polar covalent bond with Oxygen or other atoms, as hydrogen? WOuld they partake in At-or P-Bonding for example? I'm really curios.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Hydrogen is very small, so other atoms can come close to the effective charge. That is different for all other atoms.
    They form polar covalent bonds in molecules, but they don't give the same hydrogen bonds to other molecules.
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