Electronegativity is a chemical property of an atom. It is when an atom attracts electrons towards itself. An electron is a subatomic particle that has a negative electrical charge.
Is the attraction that is exerted on electrons by two atoms bonded together. If it is an equal attraction from both the atoms, then there is a nonpolar bond. If one atom has a much stronger pull on the electrons, then there is what is called a polar bond. There is a very wide range of polarity. Electronegativity is the name given to the amount of pull.
How can electronegativity be explained?
The electronegativity of an atom is affected by two things:
Firstly by it’s atomic number. The atomic number of an atom is the number of protons found inside the centre or nucleus of every atom. Secondly, it is also affected by what is known as the valence electrons. In particular the distance that these valence electrons reside from the nucleus of the atom. Basically, a valence electron is one that is known to an atom and that is also involved with the making of chemical bonds. So for example, the bigger the electronegative number, the more a compound will attract electrons towards it.
As electronegativity cannot be exactly measured, it must then be calculated from other molecular properties. Once calculated, the electronegative numbers are placed in an electronegativity table. There are a few different methods of calculation but all resulting in the same trends shown between the elements.
How is eletronegativity determined?
It is determined by a number of different things, including:
- The nuclear charge of an atom. The more protons that an atom has, the more pull it has on the negative electrons.
- The number or the location of other electrons present. When there are more electrons in one atom the further away the valence electrons are. Therefore as a result, they will experience a lesser positive charge. This is because they have an increased distance from the nucleus.
Where do people use elcreonegativity?
Electronegativity can be used to predict and also explain the polarity of the bonds and thus between the pairs of atoms. Electronegativity can also be used to distinguish between both an ionic bond and also a covalent bond. This is because the larger the difference in electronegative number, the more ionic properties the bond has. Therefore, the smaller the difference in the electronegative number, the more covalent properties a bond has.