Electronegativity and Bonding

Electronegativity and Bonding

The electronegativity difference between two atoms can be used to determine what type of bonding exists between the atoms. The table below lists the approximate values. Although we have given ranges here bonding is more like a spectrum than a set of boxes.


Electronegativity differenceType of bond
\(\text{0}\)Non-polar covalent
\(\text{0}\)\(\text{1}\)Weak polar covalent
\(\text{1.1}\)\(\text{2}\)Strong polar covalent
\(>\) \(\text{2.1}\)Ionic


Note that metallic bonding is not given here. Metals have low electronegativities and so the valence electrons are not drawn strongly to any one atom. Instead, the valence electrons are loosely shared by all the atoms in the metallic network.

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