Is Water H2O an Ionic or Covalent Bond


Water H2O is a covalent bond in which two single covalent bonds are formed. Both atoms hydrogen as well as oxygen belong to the non-metal category, have high electron affinity and high ionization energy.

Before proceeding, you should remember, electron affinity is the affinity to acquire an electron from another atom. Whereas ionization means the energy required to remove an electron from the outermost shell.

H2O Covalent bond occurs because both of the atoms want to achieve stability and this can happen if only both of them have completed the outermost shell.

Moving further, To put them stable, we have two options whether to

  • Take an electron from one atom and give it to another or
  • Allow them to share electrons with each other.

But hydrogen and oxygen atoms have high ionization energy. A huge amount of energy is required to expel electrons to complete an octet.

As both have high ionization energy, this means we need a huge amount of energy to take away electrons from one and give them to the other. Not only this but also, both two oxygen atoms and a hydrogen atom have high electron affinity. they are in strong desire to acquire electron instead of giving them to other.

At this moment, on seeing their behaviour, H2O can never be an Ionic bond instead of a Covalent bond. Both of the atoms do not accomplish the requirement of becoming an ionic bond.

Water H2O a Covalent Bond

During bond formation, an atom is always in an effort to achieve the nearest noble gas configuration. For example, if hydrogen has one proton and electron. Its nearest noble gas is helium. So, hydrogen does not move to the configuration of neon. It only needs one electron to complete the outermost shell. Similarly, oxygen also achieves the nearest noble gas of neon. The neon (Z=10= K,L = 2,8) outermost shell has 8 electrons.

To attain a stable electronic configuration of the nearest noble gas hydrogen needs one electron and oxygen needs two electrons.

In the case of a water molecule, each of two hydrogen atoms shares an electron pair with an oxygen atom such that hydrogen acquires a duplet configuration in oxygen an octet. This results in the formation of two single covalent bonds.

h2o covalent molecule

Well, different scientists have different ways of expressing bond formation. Few of the molecules are described diagrammatically with the concept given by Lewis dot structure. Whereas some complex molecules diagrammatically represented with separate explanations.

It is interesting to note that water molecules have totally different properties than individual atoms involving in bonds. The presence of electrons in an atom has a huge impact. Sharing a single electron totally changes the characteristics of the whole atom.

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