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Understand Simple and Giant Covalent Structures

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Ionic and metallic bonding each only make one type of structure. Covalent bonding is a bit harder, because there are two types of structures that form. Don't panic, because you will soon understand both of them.

Most covalent compounds form simple structures, also called simple molecules, or simple molecular structures. Simple molecules are tiny; many of them only contain two or three atoms. The forces between the atoms in each molecule are made by covalent bonds, so they are very strong. Scientists call these "intramolecular forces" ("intra" at the beginning of a word means "inside").

The forces between separate molecules are very very weak. Scientists call these forces "intermolecular forces" ("inter" at the beginning of
a word means "between"- think of international, or internet). That means that the molecules in oxygen gas look like this:

The properties of simple covalent structures depend on the weak intermolecular forces; it doesn't really matter that the forces within the molecule are strong. Simple covalent molecules:
have very low melting and boiling points (oxygen turns from a solid to a liquid at -219 C, and from a liquid to a gas at -183 C). Larger molecules have higher boiling points, but still lower than for ionic or metallic bonding.
are usually gases or liquids at room temperature.
dissolve easily  in water
do not conduct electricity, because there are no mobile electrons or ions.

Although most covalent substances make simple molecules, a few make giant structures- more like the structures formed by metallic or ionic bonding. The important point about covalent giant structures is that all the bonds linking atoms are covalent, so all the bonds are very strong indeed. Diamond is a giant covalent structure made of carbon atoms:

This means that covalent giant structures:
are very hard, because the covalent bonds are very strong.
have very high melting temperatures, because huge amounts of energy are needed to break covalent bonds.
do not dissolve in water, because water cannot weaken covalent bonds.
do not conduct electricity, because there are no mobile electrons or ions.

Which of these is the best description of simple molecules?

many atoms joined by covalent bonding

a few atoms joined by covalent bonding

many atoms joined by ionic bonding

What is the name for bonding within a molecule?

intermolecular

intramolecular

What is the name for bonding between different molecules?

intermolecular

intramolecular

Which of these words describe properties of simple molecular structures?

high melting temperature

low melting temperature

solid at room temperature

liquid at room temperature

gas at room temperature

electrical absorber

electrical conductor

electrical insulator

Match the properties with their reasons

Column A

Column B

Electrical insulator
because there are no mobile electrons or ions.
Low melting temperature
because there are weak forces between molecules.

Fill the gaps in this paragraph, using these words:

intermolecular

intramolecular

melt

Column A

Column B

Electrical insulator
because there are no mobile electrons or ions.
Low melting temperature
because there are weak forces between molecules.

Which of these is the best description of giant covalent structures?

a few atoms joined by covalent bonding

many atoms joined by covalent bonding

many atoms joined by ionic bonding

Which of these phrases describe both simple molecular and giant covalent materials?

High melting temperature

Low melting temperature

Dissolve in water

Hard

Electrical insulator

Fill the gaps in this paragraph; the answer each time is strong or weak.

High melting temperature

Low melting temperature

Dissolve in water

Hard

Electrical insulator

What is the difference (in ºC) between the melting temperature and the boiling temperature of oxygen? Use information from the introduction to help you.

  • Question 1

Which of these is the best description of simple molecules?

CORRECT ANSWER
a few atoms joined by covalent bonding
EDDIE SAYS
simple molecules are small. Many are only 2 or 3 atoms. A few very large ones are about 100 atoms.
  • Question 2

What is the name for bonding within a molecule?

CORRECT ANSWER
intramolecular
EDDIE SAYS
People often get intra and inter mixed up. "Intra" means within or inside, so intramolecular is inside the molecule.
  • Question 3

What is the name for bonding between different molecules?

CORRECT ANSWER
intermolecular
EDDIE SAYS
"Inter" means between, so intermolecular is between molecules.
  • Question 4

Which of these words describe properties of simple molecular structures?

CORRECT ANSWER
low melting temperature
liquid at room temperature
gas at room temperature
electrical insulator
EDDIE SAYS
A few (very large) simple molecules are solid at room temperature, but most are liquids or gases. This links to their low melting temperature.
  • Question 5

Match the properties with their reasons

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Electrical insulator
because there are no mobile elect...
Low melting temperature
because there are weak forces bet...
EDDIE SAYS
The melting temperature of materials is linked to how strong the bonds are. Electrical conductivity depends on how easily it is for charged particles to move.
  • Question 6

Fill the gaps in this paragraph, using these words:

intermolecular

intramolecular

melt

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The key thing here is that intermolecular is between the molecules, and intramolecular is within the molecules.
  • Question 7

Which of these is the best description of giant covalent structures?

CORRECT ANSWER
many atoms joined by covalent bonding
EDDIE SAYS
Giant covalent structures still have covalent bonding, but unlike molecules, the structures contain huge numbers of atoms, because the bonding pattern never reaches an end point
  • Question 8

Which of these phrases describe both simple molecular and giant covalent materials?

CORRECT ANSWER
Electrical insulator
EDDIE SAYS
Covalent molecules dissolve in water and have a low melting temperature. Covalent giant structures have a high melting temperature and are hard.
  • Question 9

Fill the gaps in this paragraph; the answer each time is strong or weak.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The distinctive thing about giant covalent structures is that all the bonds are covalent. That means there are no parts of the structure which will break easily, or allow melting to happen.
  • Question 10

What is the difference (in ºC) between the melting temperature and the boiling temperature of oxygen? Use information from the introduction to help you.

CORRECT ANSWER
36
EDDIE SAYS
The melting point (-219 ºC) and boiling point (-183 ºC) are in the introduction. You don\'t need to learn them by heart. To work out the answer for this question, do -183 - -219 = 36.
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