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Difference Between Ionic Bonds And Covalent Bonds

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The main difference between Ionic bonds and Covalent bonds is that Ionic bonds form between two species that are electrostatically attracted to one other, while Covalent bonds arise covalently via electron sharing between their outermost shell. Metallic elements generally create Ionic bonds, while non-metallic elements form Covalent bonds. Elements have a tendency to create relationships with one another to become stable. Elements connect to one another in two ways: Covalent bonds and Ionic bonds.

What is an Ionic Bond?

ionic bond
A Ionic bond between a fluorine and lithium atom

An ionic bond is a chemical connection that arises when one or more electrons are permanently transferred from one atom to another. An atom that loses electrons irreversibly becomes a cation or positively charged ion.

On the other hand, the atom that obtains electrons forms an anion or negatively charged ion. As a result, an Ionic bond is also known as an electrovalent bond. The electronegativity values of the involved atoms must be highly different for an Ionic bond to form. As a result, Ionic bonding can only occur between metals and nonmetals.

The positively charged sodium ion (Na+) bonds with the negatively charged chloride ion (Cl-) to generate sodium chloride (NaCl), also known as table salt. The important thing to remember about an Ionic bond is that those electrons are traded to achieve equilibrium between the two ions. In water, however, these bonds will dissolve into ions. This occurs when saltwater is produced. Ionic bonds have several features. Some of them are as follows:

  • Ionic bonds are non-directional by definition
  • Water and polar solvents dissolve Ionic substances
  • Non-polar solvents make Ionic molecules insoluble
  • Their melting and boiling points are the greatest
  • They have an excellent electrical and thermal conductivity

What is a Covalent Bond?

covalent bond
Two Covalent bonds between two oxygen atoms

A covalent bond is a type of chemical bond formed by the sharing of electrons between the atoms involved. These chemical bonds can only exist between non-metallic elements with similar or almost identical electronegativity values.

No electrons are transferred since the involved atoms have the same electronegativity value. As a consequence, the production of ions does not occur in Covalent bonding. Furthermore, the electron pairs that participate in Covalent bonding are shared pairs.

The outer shell of hydrogen (H) has one electron, although it desires eight. Chlorine (Cl) contains seven electrons in its outer shell but desires eight. Because they are both hunting for eight, they will join forces and share electrons to produce hydrogen chloride (HCl). Covalent bonds have several features. Some of them are as follows:

  • Covalent bonds are directed by definition
  • Their melting and boiling points are both low
  • They are electrically and thermally inefficient
  • Water does not dissolve covalent compounds

Covalent bonds are not as solid as Ionic bonds since they are just pooling their stuff. Like Ionic bonding, you'll perceive them as a gas or liquid rather than a solid. However, although Covalent bonds are weaker than Ionic bonds, they may form between the same elements. A Covalent bond may be further classified into three categories based on the number of shared electron pairs.

  • Single Covalent Bond
  • Double Covalent Bond
  • Triple Covalent Bond

Differences Between Ionic Bonds And Covalent Bonds


Ionic bonds form when a metal and a nonmetal interact. Covalent bonding forms when two nonmetals come into contact.


Ionic bonds do not carry electricity while solid, but they do when liquid or molten. In any state, Covalent bonds do not carry electricity.

Binding Energy

The binding energy of Ionic bonds is quite high. The binding energy of Covalent bonds is low to moderate.

State of Presence

Ionic bonding can be found in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms. Covalent bonds exist in all 3 states, although they are stronger in solid.

Melting Point

An Ionic bond has very high melting points. A Covalent bond has melting values that range from low to moderate.

Boiling Point

An Ionic bond has very high boiling points. The boiling points of the Covalent bond range from low to moderate.

Comparison Chart: Ionic Bonds Vs Covalent Bonds

ParametersIonic BondsCovalent Bonds
DescriptionMetal and nonmetal bonding because the nonmetal attracts the electron; it's as though the metal gives it its electronA bond formed by two nonmetals with comparable electronegativities. In their outer shells, atoms share electrons
ShapeNo definite shapeDefinite shape
Melting PointHighLow
Boiling PointHighLow
ExamplesSulfuric Acid (H2SO4), Sodium chloride (NaCl)Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Methane (CH4)


What Are Some Examples Of Ionic Bonds?

An example of an Ionic bond is the bond in sodium chloride, which is salt. The valence electron of sodium is transported to the outer electron shell of chlorine. Ionic components are compounds that have Ionic bonding.

What Are Some Examples Of Covalent Bonds?

Sharing electrons between two oxygen atoms is an example of a Covalent bond. As a consequence, dioxygen would be formed.

Which Bond Is More Powerful, Metallic Or Covalent?

Covalent bonding is weak except for carbon, silicon, and diamond. Metallic bonds have extraordinarily high strength. Ionic bonds are also fairly strong due to their crystalline structure.


Ionic, Covalent, and Coordinate bonds are the three types of chemical bonding that may occur naturally and lead to the formation of chemical compounds. As their respective names imply, Ionic bonds and Covalent bonds ultimately result in the formation of Ionic and Covalent compounds, respectively.

Ionic compounds are more stable than Covalent compounds because the Ionic bond is stronger than the Covalent one. This is because of how the relationships are formed in the first place.

Because of the electrostatic force of attraction between the two ions, an Ionic bond can only be created when an ion with a positive charge joins forces with an ion with a negative charge. This ends up producing a more stable molecule, in addition to a more robust bond.

On the other hand, a Covalent bond is formed when a molecule or atom that is electron-rich joins forces with another molecule or atom. Only once the two molecules collaborate to share a pair of electrons to fill the valence shell is the compound able to become stable.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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