2012: Advent Chemistry: Hydrogen

by on December 6, 2012

It occurs to me that thus far I have not really talked about what bonds are. I’ve talked about how we can change them and how they can shuffle around to even themselves out, but not how we get them in the first place. There are two major kinds of bond, covalent and ionic. For now, let’s leave everything else aside and focus on covalent bonds.
This molecule here is the simplest one possible, H2, the hydrogen molecule.

A hydrogen molecule with the electrons, orbitals and protons shown

The hydrogen molecule is held together by a covalent bond. The two atoms can share their electrons, so that instead of just orbiting around its own nucleus in a sphere, each electron spends a majority of its time between the nuclei. The bond is essentially a magnetic attraction between the electrons (which have a negative charge) and the protons (which have a positive charge and sit in the nuclei).
Hydrogen is the simplest atom, and the bonds formed between hydrogen atoms are also very simple. Other, larger elements have more electrons, and this is where things start to get interesting.

Leave a Reply