CIE AS Chemistry (9701) exams from 2022

Revision Notes

1.3.10 Bond Energy & Length

Covalent Bonding: Bond Energy & Length

Bond energy

  • The bond energy is the energy required to break one mole of a particular covalent bond in the gaseous states
    • Bond energy has units of kJ mol-1
  • The larger the bond energy, the stronger the covalent bond is

Bond length

  • The bond length is internuclear distance of two covalently bonded atoms
    • It is the distance from the nucleus of one atom to another atom which forms the covalent bond
  • The greater the forces of attraction between electrons and nuclei, the more the atoms are pulled closer to each other
  • This decreases the bond length of a molecule and increases the strength of the covalent bond
  • Triple bonds are the shortest and strongest covalent bonds due to the large electron density between the nuclei of the two atoms
  • This increase the forces of attraction between the electrons and nuclei of the atoms
  • As a result of this, the atoms are pulled closer together causing a shorter bond length
  • The increased forces of attraction also means that the covalent bond is stronger

Chemical Bonding Bond Lengths and Strengths, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Triple bonds are the shortest covalent bonds and therefore the strongest ones

Reactivity of covalent molecules

  • The reactivity of a covalent bond is greatly influenced by:
    • The bond polarity
    • The bond strength
    • The bond type (σ/π)

Worked example: Bond lengths & bond energies

Chemical Bonding Worked example - Covalent Bonding Bond Energy & Length, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes


Answer 1: Going down the halogen group, the atoms are bigger; the attractive force between the bonding electrons and the nucleus get smaller so less energy is needed to break the atom

Answer 2: Going down the group the increase in bond length is approximately 0.14-0.20 nm

Fluorine is smaller than HCl, so a value between 0.09 and 0.11 nm is acceptable for the bond length

Answer 3: The hydrogen halide with the longest bond length and therefore smallest bond energy is the most reactive as it takes the least energy to break apart the hydrogen and halide atoms apart

Therefore, HI is the most reactive hydrogen halide

Chemical Bonding Table_Covalent Bonding Bond Energy & Length, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Author: Francesca

Fran has taught A level Chemistry in the UK for over 10 years. As head of science, she used her passion for education to drive improvement for staff and students, supporting them to achieve their full potential. Fran has also co-written science textbooks and worked as an examiner for UK exam boards.

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