Equal electronegativities and covalent bond formation

In summary, when two atoms have equal or similar electronegativities, they will share electrons through covalent bonds. However, if there is a large difference in electronegativity, one atom may transfer electrons to the other to form ions and create an ionic bond. The statement that two equally electronegative atoms will always form polar covalent bonds is false, as demonstrated by the existence of partially ionic compounds with equal electronegativities.
  • #1
sp3sp2sp
100
4

Homework Statement


True or false: When two atoms are equally electronegative, they will interact to form polar covalent bonds.

Homework Equations


Atoms with similar or equal electronegativities share electrons between them and are connected by covalent bonds.
Atoms with large differences in electronegativity transfer electrons to form ions. The ions then are attracted to each other, = an ionic bond.

The Attempt at a Solution


I answered true and it was marked wrong. Not understanding why though. The only thing I can think of is maybe the question is asking if two atoms of equal electronegativity will necessarily form covalent bond. Other than that, I thought it should be true. Not sure what I did wrong. thanks
 
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  • #2
this is stupid. I just noticed it says "polar" covalent. That must be the problem!
 
  • #3
sp3sp2sp said:
this is stupid. I just noticed it says "polar" covalent. That must be the problem!
Yes, it is the qualifier "polar" that makes the statement false.
 
  • #4
Just wanted to note that, while this statement is probably true for the interaction of only two atoms, there are counterexamples when more than two are involved.
For example, there exists a partially ionic modification of boron (Gamma-boron) consisting of B2+ and B12- clusters arranged in a NaCl type lattice.
 
  • #5
Isn't that simply because the electronegativities of the pseudoatoms B2+ and B12- are not the same though, at some level?
 

Related to Equal electronegativities and covalent bond formation

What is electronegativity and how does it affect covalent bond formation?

Electronegativity is a measure of an atom's ability to attract electrons towards itself in a chemical bond. In covalent bond formation, atoms with similar electronegativities will share electrons equally, resulting in a nonpolar covalent bond. On the other hand, atoms with different electronegativities will have unequal sharing of electrons, resulting in a polar covalent bond.

How do equal electronegativities lead to the formation of a nonpolar covalent bond?

When two atoms with equal electronegativities come together to form a covalent bond, they will share electrons equally. This leads to a balanced distribution of charge and a symmetrical molecule, making it a nonpolar covalent bond.

What happens when atoms with different electronegativities form a covalent bond?

If atoms with different electronegativities form a covalent bond, the atom with the higher electronegativity will have a stronger pull on the shared electrons. This results in a partial negative charge on that atom and a partial positive charge on the other atom, creating a polar covalent bond.

Can covalent bonds form between atoms with significantly different electronegativities?

Yes, covalent bonds can form between atoms with significantly different electronegativities. However, the resulting bond will be polar, with one atom having a stronger pull on the shared electrons. This type of bond is known as a polar covalent bond.

How does the concept of electronegativity help explain the properties of molecules?

The concept of electronegativity helps explain the polarity of molecules and their ability to interact with other molecules. Molecules with polar covalent bonds will have dipole moments and can participate in hydrogen bonding, resulting in stronger intermolecular forces and higher boiling points. On the other hand, molecules with nonpolar covalent bonds have weaker intermolecular forces and lower boiling points.

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