Chemical bonds are strong forces of attraction that hold atoms and molecules together. Chemical bonds are pretty much essential for the existence of substances, materials, and even living beings. Although we cannot really observe chemical bonds, they are everywhere. The screen you are reading this article from consists of numerous chemical bonds. The water and food you need for survival include chemical bonds as well. And most importantly, molecules within your cells comprise many different types of chemical bonds. If the significance of chemical bonding is still not evident to you, here are ten reasons why chemical bonds are so important:
#1. Chemical Bonds Hold Atoms and Molecules Together
The main reason why chemical bonds are essential is that they hold atoms and molecules together. In every single molecule, there are chemical bonds between atoms. And in every single substance, there are chemical bonds between molecules. These bonds can be classified into two different categories – intramolecular and intermolecular forces. “Intra” means “within,” so intramolecular bonds occur between atoms within a molecule. On the other hand, “inter” means “between,” so intermolecular bonds occur between molecules in a compound or substance.
#2. Different Types of Chemical Bonds Stick Different Types of Atoms and Molecules Together
The forces that are formed between atoms and molecules differ from each other. Therefore, the type of a chemical bond depends on the kind of atoms or molecules it holds together. There are three main types of chemical bonds, including ionic, covalent, and metallic bonding. While ionic bonds occur between oppositely charged ions (a metal and a nonmetal) when valence electrons are transferred from one atom to another, covalent bonds form between two nonmetals that share electrons. Covalent bonds can be further categorized into nonpolar and polar covalent bonds. Nonpolar covalent bonds occur between atoms with similar electronegativities, while polar covalent bonds form between atoms with different electronegativities. Finally, metallic bonds are formed between metal atoms that give off their extra electrons.
#3. Chemical Bonds Are Key to Determining Molecular Shape and Geometry
The shape of a molecule refers to its structure, while the geometry of a molecule is the 3-D arrangement of atoms within the molecule. The molecular shape is determined by considering bonding pairs, and therefore, it is often referred to as electron-pair geometry. On the other hand, determining molecular geometry requires the understanding of the valence shell electron pair repulsion theory (VSEPR).
#4. Chemical Bonds Determine Physical Properties of Molecules
As mentioned earlier, chemical bonds are the electrical forces of attraction that stick atoms, ions, or molecules together. The type and intensity of chemical bonds are directly responsible for the physical properties of molecules. Some of the essential physical properties of molecules affected by chemical bonding include the state at room temperature, density, hardness or softness, solubility, melting and boiling points, and electrical conductivity.
#5. Chemical Bonds Determine Chemical Properties of Molecules
Chemical bonds also determine the chemical properties of molecules and compounds. Besides, existing forces of attraction also influence the type of chemical bonds that will form during further reactions. Some of the chemical characteristics of compounds influenced by chemical bonds include reactivity, chemical stability, and even toxicity.
#6. Chemical Bonds Are Involved in Chemical Reactions
A chemical reaction is a process during which reactants are converted into products. Whenever a substance is transformed into a different one, chemical bonds are broken and formed. Without chemical bonding, there would not be any chemical reactions. Obviously, chemical reactions are essential to living beings, as they provide different materials and even occur within biological systems.
#7. Chemical Bonds Are Essential for the Formation of New Molecules and Compounds
As the process of chemical bonding is involved in chemical reactions, it is of huge importance for the formation of new molecules and compounds. Whether we are synthesizing chemicals in a lab or talking about the reactions of metabolism, chemical bonds make the formation of new substances with entirely different properties possible.
#8. The Knowledge of Chemical Bonding Is Key to Designing New Materials
Understanding how chemical bonding works is fundamental to designing new materials. This is because the knowledge of chemical bonds allows chemists to predict the reaction mechanisms and synthesize new substances accordingly. Since chemical bonds determine the physical and chemical properties of compounds, knowing how bonds are broken and formed also promotes the production of materials with customized properties.
#9. Chemical Bonds Play Crucial Role in the Chemistry of Cells
Since every compound and substance includes chemical bonds, these forces of attraction are also essential for understanding the chemistry of living cells. While carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur make up 99% of living cells, these atoms are connected to each other by means of chemical bonds to form more complex compounds, such as proteins and nucleic acids. Without chemical bonding, there would not be any molecules or compounds present in our cells. In other words, our cells would not even exist.
#10. The Earth Would Not Have Existed Without Chemical Bonds
While you might not think that chemical bonds are vital at first glance, they actually are. If you try to think of something that does not include chemical bonds, you will surely fail. The compounds in the air we breathe and the water we drink contain chemical bonds. The food we eat comprises chemical bonds as well. Our smartphones, laptops, clothes, furniture, and literally everything around us involves chemical bonding. We are made of molecules that feature intramolecular forces and are linked with other molecules by means of intermolecular bonds. Clearly, chemical bonds are important and there are plenty of reasons for that.