Valency[edit | edit source]
Capacity for bonding[edit | edit source]
Covalent bonding is a form of chemical bonding characterized by the sharing of one or more pairs of electrons, by two atoms. In order to produce a mutual attraction atoms tend to share electrons, so as to fill their outer electron shells. Such bonds are always stronger than the intermolecular hydrogen bond and similar in strength or stronger than the ionic bond. Commonly covalent bond implies the sharing of just a single pair of electrons. The sharing of two pairs is called a double bond and three pairs is called a triple bond. Aromatic rings of atoms and other resonant structures are held together by covalent bonds that are intermediate between single and double. The triple bond is relatively rare in nature, and two atoms are not observed to bond more than triply.
Covalent bonding most frequently occurs between atoms with similar electronegativities, where neither atom can provide sufficient energy to completely remove an electron from the other atom. Covalent bonds are more common between non-metals, whereas ionic bonding is more common between two metal atoms or a metal and a non-metal atom.
Covalent bonding tends to be stronger than other types of bonding, such as ionic bonding. In addition unlike ionic bonding, where ions are held together by a non-directional coulombic attraction, covalent bonds are highly directional. As a result, covalently bonded molecules tend to form in a relatively small number of characteristic shapes, exhibiting specific bonding angles.