explain the electrovalency & covalent bond

explain the electrovalency & covalent bond


1 Answers

Chetan Mandayam Nayakar
312 Points
11 years ago
The two main ways in which atoms can be combined to form molecules are by electrovalent bonds and covalent bonds. Some molecules contain both electrovalent and covalent bonds, but many have just one or the other type. When you study enzymes, you will also need to know something about much weaker attractions between atoms in molecules of proteins: these are hydrogen bonds.

Electrovalent chemicals are held together by an electrical attraction between positively charged cations and negatively charged anions. You can read more about ions to refresh your memory if you need to. Cations are formed when an atom of a metallic element loses one or more of its electrons. Hydrogen is the only non-metal to form a cation. Anions are formed when an atom or group of atoms gains one or more electrons. This means that cations have a positive charge and anions have a negative charge.

When an electrovalent chemical is dissolved in water it will dissociate. That means that the cations and anions separate. These chemicals are called electrolytes because they will conduct electricity. You should have a look at my animations of atoms to see how they are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. Group I metals have a single outer electron which they lose to form cations with a single positive charge. Group II metals have two outer electrons and form ions with a double positive charge. The halogens have seven outer electrons, Group VII, and can gain one electron to form anions with a single negative charge.

Crystals of electrovalent compounds consist of a lattice of ions. Sodium chloride (ordinary table salt) consists of sodium and chloride ions. Each sodium ion is surrounded by six chloride ions, and each chloride ion is surrounded by six sodium ions. Have a think about that: you should realise that a crystal will contain exactly the same number of each kind of ion.

Covalent bonds are formed when atoms share electrons. These substances do not conduct electricity and do not dissociate into ions if they dissolve in water. The simplest covalent molecule is that formed between two atoms of hydrogen. A molecule of hydrogen consists of two atoms bonded together by a pair of electrons. This pair of electrons orbits the nuclei of both atoms so holding them together. This is the most common way in which non-metallic atoms are combined into molecules.

Many substances have both kinds of bonds. The most obvious ones are the acids. Sulphuric acid contains atoms of hydrogen, sulphur and oxygen. Covalent bonds hold the atoms of oxygen and sulphur together. However you should know that acids are substances that release hydrogen ions in solution, so sulphuric acid must have electrovalent bonds. These hold positively charged hydrogen ions (cations) onto negatively charged sulphate ions (anions). Again, you can have a look at this on my ions page to refresh your memory.

In your biology lessons you will learn about enzymes. Enzymes are biological catalysts. They are affected by temperature and pH. They must have the correct 3D shape to do their jobs (the lock and key model), and will not work if their shapes are changed by pH or temperature. Enzymes are protein molecules. They contain atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sometimes sulphur and even phosphorus. These are all chemically combined by covalent bonds into a long chain. However, some of the hydrogen atoms are attracted to atoms of oxygen or nitrogen by a much weaker kind of bond called a "hydrogen bond".

Hydrogen bonds are caused by attractions between the positively charged nucleus of a hydrogen atom and a pair of electrons in the outer shell of another atom, either oxygen or nitrogen. These are very weak bonds and easily affected by temperature. Hydrogen bonds help to hold an enzyme into its proper 3D shape, and this will change if the enzyme is heated or cooled.

Proteins are also held into their correct shapes by weak electrical attractions between positive and negative charges on some of the atoms. Some of the amino acids in a protein contain an extra amino group that can gain a hydrogen ion becoming positively charged. Other amino acids have an extra acid group that can lose a hydrogen ion becoming negatively charged. Attractions between these extra positive and negative regions of a protein molecule also help to hold it into its correct shape. These attractions are upset if the pH of the solution is changed.

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