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Why is knowledge of chemical bonding and structure is so important?

There are so many uses of chemistry that require detailed descriptions of the chemical structure of substances and their properties

Doc Brown's Chemistry: Chemical Bonding and structure GCSE level, IGCSE, O, IB, AS, A level US grade 9-12 AQA Edexcel OCR advanced level chemistry revision study notes

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Index of all my chemical bonding and structure revision notes

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The importance of structure and bonding knowledge

Chemists can use the theory of structure and bonding to explain the physical and chemical properties of materials of widely varying composition e.g. salt crystals, metals and polymer plastics.

 Detailed analysis of structures by a variety of techniques shows how atoms can be arranged in all sorts of ways summarised below with links to more detailed notes.

Chemical bonding theory (covalent, ionic, metallic) explains how atoms are held together in these different types of structure.

This theoretical chemical bonding knowledge, backed up with experimental evidence, helps scientists to design and engineer new materials with desirable properties for specific uses.

Composites, smart materials and nanotechnology have provided materials with a huge diverse and remarkable sets of properties for many applications.

The properties of these new materials offer new technological applications and uses in a range of different industrial and domestic use of technologies from electronic devices to new structural materials and a lot more besides.

Biochemistry has advanced enormously from the mid 20th century onwards including the deducing the structure of DNA and understanding how genetics work (well mostly!).

Drugs save lives every day or just relieve that annoying headache.

An understanding of the shape and function of enzymes has enabled biochemists to use computer software to design drugs to combat disease.

Artists have taken advantage of new alloys to create great sculptures like the steel "Angel of the North" in north-east England..

Organic chemistry has outstripped any other branch of chemistry and there are more compounds of carbon than any other element in the Periodic Table (many millions of compounds including fuels, plastics, pharmaceutical products etc. etc.!).

Three types of strong chemical bonds: ionic, covalent and metallic will be described and explained.

In ionic bonding the particles (atoms or a group of atoms) form oppositely charged ions.

Ionic bonding occurs in compounds formed from metals combined with non-metals.

In covalent bonding the particles are atoms (usually both non-metals) share pairs of electrons to form the bond.

Covalent bonding occurs in most non-metallic elements and in compounds of non-metals.

In metallic bonding the metal atoms (actually positive ions) of the lattice share negative delocalised electrons to bind themselves together.

Metallic bonding occurs in metallic elements and alloys.

Overall you should be able to explain chemical bonding in terms of electrostatic forces and the transfer or sharing of electrons and use the bonding models to explain the physical properties of elements and compounds.

What next?

Recommend next: Sub-index for:

Introduction to chemical bonding - why? how? and patterns

Index for all chemical bonding and structure notes

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