What is a Coordinate Covalent Bond?

What is a Coordinate Covalent Bond?

A coordinate covalent bond forms when two atoms share a pair of electrons.

An atom uses the shared pair of electrons to bond with another atom and form either ionic or covalent bonds. In an ionic bond, one atom donates one or more electrons to the other atom that has one or more than one electron in its outer shell, resulting in oppositely charged ions with partial positive and negative charges, respectively. In aa covalent bond, both atoms share one or more pairs of electrons, which forms dipoles with partial positive and negative charges along the line between the two atoms of opposite charge.

The Definition of Coordinate Covalent Bonds

If you’re interested in organic chemistry, then you’ve probably heard of covalent bonds and how they form between atoms. Specifically, when two atoms share an electron bond, it is called a coordinate covalent bond. This type of chemical bond differs from another type called an ionic bond because rather than one atom handing over its electron to another atom entirely, both atoms stay with their own electrons; instead, they simply share them via an equal attraction or repulsion between each other. In fact, if you remember back to high school chemistry class, you might recall that bonds like these are also known as dative covalent bonds. However, what do these terms mean? Well, let’s take a look at some examples!
1 . When two atoms have an equal attraction for each other, they form a coordinate covalent bond. In other words, these bonds are formed when both atoms are equally interested in sharing electrons with one another.

For example, oxygen and hydrogen have different electronegativities (oxygen has a higher electronegativity than hydrogen), but they still share electrons via coordinate covalent bonds to create water molecules.

These bonds are also referred to as dative covalent bonds because there is a transfer of electron density from one atom to another; however, neither atom actually loses or gains any electrons during their formation.

2 . When an atom attracts another atom more strongly than it does its own electron cloud, it will pull away from its own valence shell and replace it with that of its new partner’s. This creates what is known as a coordinate covalent bond because one atom acts as both donor and acceptor in regards to electrons. For example, fluorine has a higher electronegativity than carbon; therefore, when fluorine bonds with carbon atoms in compounds like carbon tetrachloride (CClF), it pulls some of their electrons into its orbit and forms coordinate covalent bonds.

The Structure of a Coordinate Covalent Bond

A coordinate covalent bond occurs when an electron pair bonds with two atoms. This bond does not require ionic or metallic properties and, as such, is much less stable than ionic or metallic bonds. The molecule that results from a coordinate covalent bond has partial positive and negative charges spread across it, making it somewhat polar (and therefore electrically charged).

They are also often formed between metals and nonmetals. For example, in MgCl, Magnesium (Mg) donates one of its valence electrons to Chlorine (Cl), forming a covalent bond between them.

The resulting compound contains both a metal and a nonmetal atom, which makes it very unstable compared to other compounds. However, once you add another Cl atom to form MgCl2, there are now enough electrons for each atom to have eight valence electrons; each atom will be able to hold onto their shared electrons more tightly because they’re now full. As such, MgCl2 is far more stable than MgCl.

A Brief History of Chemical Bonds

The first milestone in understanding chemical bonds was J. J. Berzelius’s theory of chemical combination, published in 1828. His main idea was that compounds were formed when atoms combined through pairs of valence electrons—or shared pairs of electrons between atoms—to form shared bonds of sharing or connectedness.

This idea led to Lewis’s 1916 definition of covalent bonding as the tendency of atoms to share their outermost (valence) electrons with other atoms. Lewis went on to develop an electron-pair theory for bonding, which explained why some elements form multiple bonds and others do not.

Examples Of Coordinate Covalent Bonds

N-H…O Hydrogen bonds and amide bonds in proteins are examples of coordinate covalent bonds. They differ from regular covalent bonds by having greater directional properties. When atoms in a molecule share electrons, they are said to be bonded to each other through a coordinate covalent bond.

This type of bond only exists when there are at least three bonded atoms; no less than three, or else it would just be called a regular covalent bond. The two types of molecules that form coordinate covalent bonds are called Lewis acids and Lewis bases. The acid part of these molecules has an excess number of valence electrons, while their base counterparts have an electron deficit.

The acid will donate one or more valence electrons to its base counterpart, creating a new bond between them.

Properties of coordinate covalent bond

The first thing you might notice about coordinate covalent bonds is that it looks like there are two electron pairs around both atoms in question, when there should only be one for each.

That’s because electrons in coordinate covalent bonds act very differently than those in ionic and covalent compounds—they are not attached to either atom but instead float around independently of them.

In fact, they don’t even have to be shared equally between atoms. This type of bond forms when an electronegative atom (one with a strong attraction for electrons) pulls away an electron from another atom or molecule. This leaves behind what is called a Lewis base: an atom or molecule with an incomplete octet (eight valence electrons).

It then uses its excess electron pair to form a coordinate covalent bond with another Lewis base.

How do you identify a coordinate covalent bond

The key to identifying coordinate covalent bonds lies in understanding what it means for an atom to have a complete octet of electrons.

Elements like nitrogen and oxygen will sometimes use their lone pairs of electrons to coordinate, or bond, with another atom’s lone pair. There are two types of coordination: direct and indirect. Direct coordination occurs when atoms share electrons. The single electron that is shared forms what we call a co-ordinate covalent bond. You’ll notice that these molecules contain pi (π) bonds, not sigma (σ) bonds.


Coordinate covalent bonds are formed by nonmetal atoms and nonbonding electrons. These types of bonds commonly appear in molecules that have polar covalent bonds, or when an atom with a high electronegativity forms a bond with another atom with a lower electronegativity.

The strength of coordinate covalent bonds depends on how many Lewis pairs are present as well as their distance from each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.