Giant Covalent Structures

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Giant Covalent Structures


  • Made from carbon only
  • Each carbon atom makes 3 covalent bonds to other atoms forming layers. The layers are only held together by weak forces, so slide over one another easily. So graphite feels soft and slippery.
  • One electron from each carbon atom can move through the structure- it is delocalised. So graphite can conduct electricity.

Silicon Dioxide (Silica)

  • Made from silicon and oxygen
  • Each silica atom makes 4 covalent bonds to oxygen atoms
  • Each oxygen makes 2 covalent bonds to silicon atoms
  • High melting point
  • Hard and strong
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Metallic Structures

Metallic Structures 

  • Strong forces of attraction (electrostatic forces) between the positively charged metal ions and the negatively charged sea of electrons hold the structure together 
  • The outer electrons from each atoms are delocalised- they can move through the structure forming a sea of electrons that hold the metal ions together. 
  • Metals conduct electricity because the outer electrons from each atom are delocalised so they can move through the structure.
  • Metals are malleable because the layers of atoms can easily slide over one another
  • Metals have a high melting point because there are strong forces forces of attraction between the molecules. So a large amount of energy is required to overcome these forces and melt the metal.
  • The three types of bonding
  • Covalent = non-metals only
  • Ionic= a metal with a non-metal
  • Metallic=Metal only
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