Difference Between Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Atoms of the elements consist of subatomic particles: electron, proton and neutron. The type of bond form is decided by the valence electron (outermost electrons).  Atoms may share or lose or gain electrons which cause the main reason for the difference between ionic and covalent bonds.

Must Read: What are Ionic & Covalent Bonds?

Experimental Difference between Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Take the electrovalent and covalent compounds in solution in separate beakers.The apparatus similar to an electrolytic cell. The electric circuit contains 6 V volts battery, an ammeter bulb and platinum electrodes connected in series.The platinum rods are dipped for a moment, one by one, and note the change in ammeter reading.Difference Between Ionic and Covalent Bonds


Electrovalent compounds: When the current is passed in the solutions of electrovalent compounds, i.e., magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide and copper sulfate the bulb glows. This shows that they allow electric current to pass through them. Thus, ionic compounds are good conductors of electricity in molten or aqueous states due to free mobile ions.

Covalent compounds: When the current is passed through the solutions of covalent compounds, i.e. distilled water, sugar solution, alcohol, chloroform, benzene and petrol the bulb does not glow. This shows that they do not conduct electricity. Thus, covalent compounds do not conduct electricity. This happens because solutions of covalent compounds contain only molecules and no ions.

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Difference Between Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Mobile User: View table 

Electrovalent (Ionic) Compounds Covalent Compounds
Property Reason Property Reason
  • Nature: Their constituent particles are ions.
  • They are hard solids ions consisting of ions.
These have strong electrostatic forces of attraction between their which cannot be separated easily
  •  Nature: Their constituent particles are molecules.
  • These are gases or liquids or soft solids
They have weak forces of attraction between their molecules.
  •  Boiling point and melting point: These are non-volatile, with high boiling and high melting.
There exists a strong force of attraction between the oppositely charged ions, so a large amount of energy is required to break the strong bonding force between ions. Boiling point and melting point: These are volatile, with low boiling and low melting. They have weak forces of attraction between the binding molecules, thus less energy is required to break the force of bonding.
  • Electricity conducting nature: They do not conduct electricity in the solid.
  •  They are good conductors of electricity in a fused (aqueous) state.
Electrostatic forces of attraction between ions in the solid state are very strong.These forces weaken in fused conductors of electricity state or in a solution state. Hence, ions become mobile. Electricity conducting nature: They are nonconductors of electricity in the solid, molten or aqueous state.    Due to the absence of free ions.
  •  Ionisation in solution: Electrovalent compounds are compared to ions.In solution, these ions become mobile.
  • They are electrolytes
Water being a polar covalent compound decreases the electrostatic forces of attraction, resulting in free ions in aqueous solution. NaCl → Na+(aq) + Cl(aq) Ionisation in solution: On passing electric current, nonpolar covalent compounds do not ionize. Some of the covalent compounds are polar in nature. They ionize in their solutions and can act as an electrolyte, e.g.HCL Covalent compounds do not have ions. Polar covalent molecules form ions in their solutions.

Some More Points 

  •  Solubility: These are soluble in water but insoluble in organic solvents. 
 As water is a polar compound, it decreases the electrostatic forces of attraction, resulting in free ions in aqueous solution. Hence they dissolve.  Solubility: These are insoluble in water but dissolve in organic solvents. As organic solvents are non-polar, hence, these dissolve in non-polar covalent compounds.
  • A rate of reaction: They show the rapid speed of chemical reactions in aqueous solutions.
Since free ions are easily formed in different solutions, they unite very fast forming compounds. Rate of reaction: They show the Slow speed of chemical reactions in aqueous solutions. In covalent Bond old and are broken and new bonds are formed, Thus, the reaction is slow between covalent compounds.

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Read: Covalent Character of Ionic Bond

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