Electronegativity and Bond Strength

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Emily Huang 2A
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

Electronegativity and Bond Strength

Postby Emily Huang 2A » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:31 pm

I had a question regarding Problem 3.87 in the textbook:

Which do you predict to have the strongest CX bond, where X is a halogen: (a) CF4, (b) CCl4, or (c) CBr4? Explain.

I understand that the answer is CF4 because of the small size of the fluorine atom and the short bond lengths, but the solution manual also says that "note that electronegativity and polarity arguments would predict the C--F bond to be the weakest." I don't really understand this statement, but I'm aware that the electronegativity difference between C and F should be extremely high. How does this high electronegativity difference cause the bond to be weak?

Jeannie Huang 3B
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

Re: Electronegativity and Bond Strength

Postby Jeannie Huang 3B » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:40 am

I think the reason for this is that when the electronegativity difference is high, the electrostatic attraction between the positive and negative charges will also be high, causing a shorter bond length. The bond also takes on an increasingly ionic character. I'm not sure, however, if ionic compounds always exhibit stronger bonds than covalent compounds.

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