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9: Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure

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    Why do some atoms join together to form molecules, but others do not? Why is the CO2 molecule linear whereas H2O is bent? How can we tell? How does hemoglobin carry oxygen through our bloodstream? There is no topic more fundamental to Chemistry than the nature of the chemical bond, and the introduction you find here will provide you with an overview of the fundamentals and a basis for further study.

    • 9.1: Three Views of Chemical Bonding
      These short tutorials summarize the various ways of looking at bond formation without going into too much detail.
    • 9.2: Molecules - Properties of Bonded Atoms
      The concept of chemical bonding lies at the very core of Chemistry; it is what enables about one hundred elements to form the more than fifty million known chemical substances that make up our physical world. Exactly what is a chemical bond? And what observable properties can we use to distinguish one kind of bond from another? This is the first of ten lessons that will help familiarize you with the fundamental concepts of this very broad subject.
    • 9.3: Models of Chemical Bonding
      Why do atoms bind together— sometimes? The answer to this question would ideally be a simple, easily understood theory that would not only explain why atoms bind together to form molecules, but would also predict the three-dimensional structures of the resulting compounds as well as the energies and other properties of the bonds themselves. Unfortunately, no one theory exists that accomplishes these goals in a satisfactory way for all of the many categories of compounds that are known.
    • 9.4: Polar Covalence
      The electrons constituting a chemical bond are simultaneously attracted by the electrostatic fields of the nuclei of the two bonded atoms. In a homonuclear molecule such as O2 the bonding electrons will be shared equally by the two atoms. In general, however, differences in the sizes and nuclear charges of the atoms will cause one of them to exert a greater attraction on the bonding pair, causing the electron cloud to be displaced toward the more strongly-attracting atom.
    • 9.5: Molecular Geometry
      The Lewis electron-dot structures you have learned to draw have no geometrical significance other than depicting the order in which the various atoms are connected to one another. Nevertheless, a slight extension of the simple shared-electron pair concept is capable of rationalizing and predicting the geometry of the bonds around a given atom in a wide variety of situations.
    • 9.6: The Hybrid Orbital Model
      As useful and appealing as the concept of the shared-electron pair bond is, it raises a somewhat troubling question that we must sooner or later face: what is the nature of the orbitals in which the shared electrons are contained? Up until now, we have been tacitly assuming that each valence electron occupies the same kind of atomic orbital as it did in the isolated atom. As we shall see below, his assumption very quickly leads us into difficulties.
    • 9.7: The Hybrid Orbital Model II
      This is a continuation of the previous page which introduced the hybrid orbital model and illustrated its use in explaining how valence electrons from atomic orbitals of s and p types can combine into equivalent shared-electron pairs known as hybrid orbitals. In this lesson, we extend this idea to compounds containing double and triple bonds, and to those in which atomic d electrons are involved (and which do not follow the octet rule.)
    • 9.8: Molecular Orbital Theory
      The molecular orbital model is by far the most productive of the various models of chemical bonding, and serves as the basis for most quantiative calculations, including those that lead to many of the computer-generated images that you have seen elsewhere in these units. In its full development, molecular orbital theory involves a lot of complicated mathematics, but the fundamental ideas behind it are quite easily understood, and this is all we will try to accomplish in this lesson.
    • 9.9: Bonding in Coordination Complexes
      Coordination complexes have been known and studied since the mid-nineteenth century. and their structures had been mostly worked out by 1900. Although the hybrid orbital model was able to explain how neutral molecules such as water or ammonia could bond to a transition metal ion, it failed to explain many of the special properties of these complexes. Ligand field theory was developed that is able to organize and explain most of the observed properties of these compounds.
    • 9.10: Bonding in Metals
      The simplest picture of metals, which regards them as a lattice of positive ions immersed in a “sea of electrons” which can freely migrate throughout the solid. In effect the electropositive nature of the metallic atoms allows their valence electrons to exist as a mobile fluid which can be displaced by an applied electric field, hence giving rise to their high electrical conductivities.
    • 9.11: Bonding in Semiconductors
      With the aid of simple diagrams, show how different band energy ranges in solids can produce conductors, insulators, and semiconductors. Describe the nature and behavior of a simple PN junction.
    • 9.12: The Shared-Electron Covalent Bond

    This page titled 9: Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure is shared under a CC BY 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Stephen Lower via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.