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Homework Help: Which are stronger - ionic or covalent bonds?

  1. Sep 21, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I am currently teaching grade 11 chemistry, which isn't really my area. I am trying to find out, in general, whether ionic or covalent bonds are stronger.

    I am finding a lot of conflicting information online.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Ionic substances have higher melting/boiling points in general, so ionic bonds seem stronger. Ionic substances are also solid at room temperature, whereas many molecular substances aren't.

    It is confusing though because bond strength depends on the specific atoms involved. However, their is a question on one of the worksheets I am supposed to use which asks the students to compare, so I'm wondering what generalizations I can make. Thanks!
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  3. Sep 21, 2014 #2


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    If I would have to pick one to be "stronger", then I would say ionic, but a strong covalent bond is probably "stronger" than a weak ionic one (something with large atoms).
  4. Sep 22, 2014 #3


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    It depends on what you mean by "stronger." That said, I'd go with covalent as the stronger bond because, for instance, when you dissolve table salt in water, the atoms separate into ions whereas, say, carbon dioxide molecules generally stay in one piece when dissolved in water. The covalent bonding of the atoms in CO2 is better at keeping the molecule intact than the ionic bonds in salt.
  5. Sep 22, 2014 #4


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    In most molecular substances, melting corresponds to breaking the non-covalent intermolecular bonds (e.g. hydrogen bonds, van der Waals interactions) between molecules. A more fair comparison would be comparing the melting point of an ionic substance with the melting point of a covalent network solid like diamond.
  6. Nov 5, 2014 #5
    Covalent bonds are stronger because the atoms are sharing the electrons, Ex: H20. Ionic bonds is when the atoms exchange the electrons, and are bonded because of their negative and positive charge Ex: Na+Cl-.
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