Chapter 11: Chemical Bonding

Enhanced Introductory College Chemistry

by Gregory Anderson; Caryn Fahey; Jackie MacDonald; Adrienne Richards; Samantha Sullivan Sauer; J.R. van Haarlem; and  David Wegman;

Chapter Contents

Except where otherwise noted, this OER is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Please visit the web version of Enhanced Introductory College Chemistry to access the complete book, interactive activities and ancillary resources.

In this chapter, you will learn about

  • The types of bonds that can occur when elements interact
  • Application of electron configurations to predict chemical bonding
  • Molecular structures and bond strengths

To better support your learning, you should be familiar with the following concepts before starting this chapter:

  • Periodic Table
  • Electron valence configuration of elements
Three figures are shown. The left figure is a many-sides spherical ball composed of hexagonal rings which have carbon atoms at each corner. The center picture shows a soccer ball. The right picture shown as water tower with sides shaped like hexagonal rings.
Figure 11a: Nicknamed “buckyballs,” buckminsterfullerene molecules (C60) contain only carbon atoms. Here they are shown in a ball-and-stick model (left). These molecules have single and double carbon-carbon bonds arranged to form a geometric framework of hexagons and pentagons, similar to the pattern on a soccer ball (centre). This unconventional molecular structure is named after architect R. Buckminster Fuller, whose innovative designs combined simple geometric shapes to create large, strong structures such as this weather radar dome near Tucson, Arizona (right). (credit left: Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0; credit middle: modification of work by “Petey21”, CC0; credit right: modification of work by Bill Morrow, CC BY 2.0)

It has long been known that pure carbon occurs in different forms (allotropes) including graphite and diamonds. But it was not until 1985 that a new form of carbon was recognized: buckminsterfullerene, commonly known as a “buckyball.” This molecule was named after the architect and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), whose signature architectural design was the geodesic dome, characterized by a lattice shell structure supporting a spherical surface. Experimental evidence revealed the formula, C60, and then scientists determined how 60 carbon atoms could form one symmetric, stable molecule. They were guided by bonding theory—the topic of this chapter—which explains how individual atoms connect to form more complex structures.

Watch How atoms bond – George Zaidan and Charles Morton (4 mins)

Video source: TED-Ed. (2013, October 15). How atoms bond – George Zaidan and Charles Morton [Video]. YouTube.

Indigenous Perspective: Iglu

A graphic of a blue sky with white snow and a cross section of an iglu is pictured. Inside the iglu is labeled warm air living area and the entrance in and out of the iglu on the right side is labeled passageway. From the passageway, about two thirds of the way up to the peak of the iglu there is a ventilation hole.
Figure 11.b: Cross section of an iglu (credit: graphic by Revathi Mahadevan, CC BY 4.0)

Igluit are built over the depression from where the blocks are cut. The entryway for the iglu is below ground level. The thermal properties ensures that the inside of the iglu is sufficiently warm even when the temperature outside is very low. (Anderson & Rayner-Canham, para. 11)

“As a result of the unique open crystal structure, snowflakes do not pack well together. This phenomenon results in one of the most important attributes of snow: its thermal insulation properties.” “When the Inuit transitioned from building igluit to using cabins and houses, we used the snow instead to pack tightly against the walls to insulate our homes.”

Source: Andersen, C.C., & Rayner-Canham, G. (2019, December). Snow: Making life possible in the Arctic: Chemistry Inuit Life and Culture. Chem 13 News Magazine.

Attribution & References

Except where otherwise noted, this page is adapted JR van Haarlem from “Chapter 4 Introduction” In General Chemistry 1 & 2 by Rice University, a derivative of Chemistry (Open Stax) by Paul Flowers, Klaus Theopold, Richard Langley & William R. Robinson and is licensed under CC BY 4.0. ​Access for free at Chemistry (OpenStax)


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Enhanced Introductory College Chemistry Copyright © 2023 by Gregory Anderson; Caryn Fahey; Jackie MacDonald; Adrienne Richards; Samantha Sullivan Sauer; J.R. van Haarlem; and David Wegman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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