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Drawing Covalent Bonds

The diagram below shows a fluorine atom and a hydrogen atom joined by a single covalent bond.

Diagram of a fluorine atom and a hydrogen atom joined by a single covalent bond. The fluorine atom is on the left and the hydrogen atom is on the right. Their outer shells are overlapping and in the overlapping region there is a pair of shared electrons.

A fluorine atom and a hydrogen atom joined by a single covalent bond.

This diagram is highly detailed. It shows all of the protons, neutrons and electrons and the shells. This can be useful, but often we don't need this much detail.

There is a simpler type of diagram that can be used to represent atoms joined by covalent bonds. In this simpler type of diagram, the atoms are represented by writing their chemical symbols and a single covalent bond is represented by drawing a straight line between the two atoms.

For example, the diagram below shows the same covalently bonded fluorine and hydrogen atoms that were shown above, but in a much simpler way.

A simple diagram of a fluorine atom covalently bonded to a hydrogen atom. It consists of a capital F and a capital H with a straight horizontal line connecting them.

Simple diagram of a fluorine atom covalently bonded to a hydrogen atom.

We can represent a double covalent bond by drawing two lines on top of each other. For example, the diagram below represents two oxygen atoms joined by a double covalent bond.

Diagram representing two oxygen atoms joined by a double bond. The two atoms are each represented by a capital letter O. Between them there are two horizontal lines, on top of each other, representing the double bond.

A diagram representing two oxygen atoms joined by a double bond.

We can represent a triple covalent bond by drawing three lines on top of each other. For example, the diagram below represents two nitrogen atoms joined by a triple covalent bond.

Diagram of two nitrogen atoms joined by a triple bond. Each nitrogen atom is represented by a capital letter N. Between them, there are three horizontal lines, on top of each other, to represent the triple bond.

A diagram representing two nitrogen atoms joined by a triple bond.

Flashcards

Flashcards help you memorise information quickly. Copy each question onto its own flashcard and then write the answer on the other side. Testing yourself on these regularly will enable you to learn much more quickly than just reading and making notes.

1/3

What is the simplest way to represent a single covalent bond between two atoms?

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What is the simplest way to represent a double covalent bond between two atoms?

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What is the simplest way to represent a triple covalent bond between two atoms?

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