Chemistry » Chemical Bonding » Strengths of Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Summarizing Strengths of Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Key Concepts and Summary

The strength of a covalent bond is measured by its bond dissociation energy, that is, the amount of energy required to break that particular bond in a mole of molecules. Multiple bonds are stronger than single bonds between the same atoms. The enthalpy of a reaction can be estimated based on the energy input required to break bonds and the energy released when new bonds are formed.

For ionic bonds, the lattice energy is the energy required to separate one mole of a compound into its gas phase ions. Lattice energy increases for ions with higher charges and shorter distances between ions. Lattice energies are often calculated using the Born-Haber cycle, a thermochemical cycle including all of the energetic steps involved in converting elements into an ionic compound.

Key Equations

  • Bond energy for a diatomic molecule: \(\text{XY}\left(g\right)\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}⟶\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{X}\left(g\right)+\text{Y}\left(g\right)\phantom{\rule{3em}{0ex}}{\text{D}}_{\text{X–Y}}=\text{Δ}H\text{°}\)
  • Enthalpy change: ΔH = ƩDbonds broken – ƩDbonds formed
  • Lattice energy for a solid MX: \(\text{MX}\left(s\right)\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}⟶\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{\text{M}}^{n\text{+}}\left(g\right)+{\text{X}}^{n\text{−}}\left(g\right)\phantom{\rule{3em}{0ex}}\text{Δ}{H}_{\text{lattice}}\)
  • Lattice energy for an ionic crystal: \(\text{Δ}{H}_{\text{lattice}}=\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\frac{\text{C}\left({\text{Z}}^{\text{+}}\right)\left({\text{Z}}^{\text{−}}\right)}{{\text{R}}_{\text{o}}}\)


bond energy

(also, bond dissociation energy) energy required to break a covalent bond in a gaseous substance

Born-Haber cycle

thermochemical cycle relating the various energetic steps involved in the formation of an ionic solid from the relevant elements

lattice energy (ΔHlattice)

energy required to separate one mole of an ionic solid into its component gaseous ions

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