Q:

How many covalent bonds can hydrogen form?

A:

Quick Answer

A single hydrogen atom can form one covalent bond. A covalent bond is a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electron pairs between atoms, according to Georgia State University's HyperPhysics site. The atoms share valence electrons, which are in the atom's outermost shell. Hydrogen has one electron to share.

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Full Answer

Atoms desire a full valance shell, which gives them a stable balance. The sharing of electrons allows atoms to attain this stable electron configuration. Hydrogen has a 1s valence subshell, which can hold a maximum of two electrons. Hydrogen covalently shares this single electron with other atoms needing extra electrons to fill their valence shell. For example, a fluorine atom has a valence shell containing seven electrons, yet it has a maximum capacity for eight electrons. Hydrogen shares its one electron with fluorine, and fluorine shares one of its valence electrons with hydrogen, giving both atoms a stable electron configuration.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How are hydrogen bonds different from covalent and ionic bonds?

    A:

    Because they are the result of the attraction between partial charges rather than full charges, hydrogen bonds are much weaker than ionic or covalent bonds. Ionic and covalent bonds attract the atoms of different substances together to form the molecules of compounds, while hydrogen bonds are forces that tend to attract molecules to each other. An example of hydrogen bonding is the attraction between individual water molecules while the attraction between the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen within each water molecule represents covalent bonding.

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  • Q:

    Which elements form covalent bonds?

    A:

    Hydrogen, carbon and oxygen commonly form covalent bonds. There are two forms of covalent bonds, polar and nonpolar, depending upon whether atoms share electrons equally.

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  • Q:

    How do covalent bonds form?

    A:

    Covalent bonds form when atoms share their valence electrons with other atoms to become a more stable molecule. Atoms share their electrons in order to completely fill up their outer-most layer — the valence shell. Two atoms that are covalently bonded have less energy than the individual atoms, making the bonded atoms more stable.

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  • Q:

    How many covalent bonds is oxygen capable of forming?

    A:

    An oxygen atom can form two covalent bonds. An atom's number of valence electrons dictates how many bonds the atom can form. Since an oxygen atom has six valence electrons and wants eight, it uses two of its six valance electrons for bonding. The remaining four exist as lone pairs.

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