Covalent Bonds vs. Ionic Bonds: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

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Ionic and covalent both are types of Atomic bonds. Both are having different properties and structure. An Ionic bond is formed due to complete transfer of an electron from one atom having a positively charged ion and other having a negatively charged ion, While Covalent bonds are formed due to mutual sharing of electrons between atoms. Ionic bonds are in the Solid-state while Covalent bonds are usually in the liquid or gaseous state. Ionic bonds do not possess specific shape while Covalent bonds have a specific shape. Ionic bonds have high melting and boiling point while covalent bonds have low melting and boiling points. An example of Ionic is NaCl (sodium chloride). Example of Covalent bond is HCl (Hydrochloric acid)

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Comparison Chart

Covalent Bonds Ionic Bonds
Definition
Covalent Bonds are the chemical bonds formed between the atoms of different elements due to the mutual sharing of electrons.
Ionic Bonds are the chemical bonds formed between the atoms of different elements due to the complete transfer of electrons
Formation A covalent bond is usually formed between two non-metal elements, which share the electrons for completing their outermost shell. An Ionic bond is usually formed between a metal and a non-metal element, due to the attraction of opposite ions the electrons are transferred, and octet is completed.
Polarity
Low High
Shape
Definite shape Indefinite shape
Melting Point Low High
Boiling Point Low High
Normal State or Nature Liquid or Gas Solid
Occurrence Between non-metals Between a metal and a non-metal.
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What is Ionic bond?

The complete transfer of electron known as an ionic bond. In an ionic bond, both metal and non-metal combined and formed an ionic bond. Metals are those having a tendency to lose their valence electron and formed a positively charged ion. Those who lose their electron carry positive charges whereas those who gain electron carry negatively charged. Non-metals are those having a tendency to gain or accept the electrons. They are electronegative elements with high electron affinities. If atoms are belonging to these two different groups, metals and non-metals, are allowed to react, a chemical bond is formed. The type of chemically formed due to complete transfer of an electron from one atom to another is called the Ionic bond.

Example

The formation of Na Cl (sodium chloride) is a good example of the Ionic bond. Sodium chloride the simple compound formed by Sodium (Na) having positive charge and chlorine (Cl) having a negative charge. Sodium being electropositive element has a tendency to lose electron and chlorine being electronegative element has a tendency to gain an electron. Therefore, they formed Positive and negative ion by losing and gaining electron respectively.

Covalent bond

A covalent bond is formed due to mutual sharing of electrons. This bond also is known as molecular bond. Energy changes during Covalent bond formation are of considerable value. Covalent bond having shared pair of electron contains both attractive and repulsive force between atoms. When two atoms are going to be combined attractive force developed between electron of one atom and nucleus of another atom, at the same time repulsive forces between electrons of two atoms as well as between their nuclei also created. When attractive force leads due to decrease in the distance between those two atoms, a chemical bond formed between them known as a covalent bond. Common examples of covalent bonds include Chlorine, Nitrogen, Oxygen and hydrogen, etc.

Types of Covalent Bonds

Covalent bond further divide into three types

  1. Single covalent bond
  2. Double covalent bond
  3. Triple covalent bond

Covalent Bonds vs. Ionic Bonds

  • Covalent Bonds are the chemical bonds formed between atoms of different elements by mutual sharing of electronic pairs.
  • Ionic Bonds are the chemical bonds formed between atoms of different elements by transference of electrons.
  • In covalent bonds, electrons are shared
  • In Ionic bonds, there is a complete transference of electrons.
  • Ionic bonds are strong in nature and possess high polarity.
  • Covalent bonds are weak in nature as compared to Ionic bonds and have low polarity.
  • Covalent bonds have low melting and boiling points.
  • Ionic bonds have high melting and boiling points.

Explanatory Video

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