You are watching: The force that holds two atoms together
These shared electrons are, at the same time, found in the form of waves and tiny particles of negative charge. All negatively charged electrons are attracted towards any positive charge, and a major source of positive charges are the protons at the center of the quantum atom.Shared electrons in a covalent bond, therefore, are pulled towards the positively charged protons at the centers of the two atoms.How strongly the electrons are pulled depends on the number of protons in the center of each atom, the distance the electrons are from the nucleus (the energy level and orbital), and the amount or number of electrons between them and the atomic center (the amount of "screening" by inner electrons).Electronegativity is a way of quantifying the amount of "pull" on the shared electrons in a covalent bond towards one atomic center, or the other.
In covalent bonds between two identical elements (H-H, O-O, C-C, etc.) the electronegativity of both the sharing atoms is the same, so the electrons will be shared equally between them. But when electrons are shared between elements with different degrees of electronegativity then the forces pulling on the two electrons will not be the same.The element having the highest electronegativity will have the strongest pulling force, and the shared electrons will be attracted more to this atom than to the other in the covalent bond partnership. This distorts the distribution, or the amount of time, a shared electron will spend near one atom rather than the other.
The shared electrons in a carbon-to-carbon (C-C) covalent bond are pulled equally by the six protons at the center of each carbon atom (6+) and shielded by the inner, 1s, electrons (2-). The forces are balanced and the electrons spend the same amount of time distributed around each carbon atomic center.
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