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162.How to Answer Questions on Structure and Bonding

162.How to Answer Questions on Structure and Bonding



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How to Answer Questions about Structure andBonding
Number 162
You need to know and understand all related ideas before you can gain maximum credit when answering exam questions on any particulartopic. To help you, there follow two summary flow-charts on the essential ideas under the topic heading, “structure and bonding”.However, applying these correctly to exam questions is really what this FactSheet is about. After studying this FactSheet you should beable to pick up a few more marks – or a lot!
Summary of bonding classification
BONDING(how particles of a substance are joined to each other toproduce various types of structure)COVALENT(the electrostatic attractionbetween the positive nuclei of apair atoms and the negativecharge density of sharedelectrons between the atoms)IONIC(the electrostatic attractionbetween oppositely chargedions usually formed byelectron transfer from metalto non-metal)METALLIC(the electrostatic attractionbetween fixed cations and amobile 'sea' of delocalisedelectrons between the cations)INTERMOLECULAR FORCES(weak electrostatic attractionsbetween molecules)These strong bonds hold atomstogether - either in molecules orin giant atomic structures of non-metal elements and non-metal/non-metal compoundsThese strong bonds holdoppositely charged ions(metal cations and non-metalanions) together in metal/ non-metal compounds withgiant ionic structuresThese strong bonds holdcations to delocalisedelectrons in all metallicelementsVAN DER WAAL'S FORCES(transient dipole-induceddipole attractions arising frommomentary uneven electrondistributions)and DIPOLE-DIPOLEATTRACTIONS(electrostatic attractionsbetween molecules withpermanent dipoles)or HYDROGEN BONDS(electrostatic attractionbetween a
+ hydrogen atomon one molecule and a lonepair on a
-fluorine, oxygenor nitrogen atom on anadjacent molecule)Strength of covalent bondsexplains the very high melting andboiling points of giant atomicstructures but does NOTinfluence the melting and boilingpoints of molecular substancesStrength of ionic bondingexplains the high melting andboiling points of compoundswith giant ionic structuresStrength of metallic bondingexplains the high melting andboiling points of most metalswith giant metallic structuresDATIVE / COORDINATE BONDA covalent bond where both shared electrons are provide from a lone pair on just one of the bondedatomsRemember, “bonding and structure” go hand in hand but structure is the result of bonding and not vice-versa. More importantly, both aredesigned and used to explain the variations in observable properties of substances – high or low melting points, high or low electricalconductivities etc.The sample questions that follow are taken from past AS and A2 exam papers from a variety of exam boards. In each case the question isaccompanied by the examiner’s mark scheme and some comments on its interpretation and application as an aid to your understanding of what a question is after and how best to structure your answers. In each case the actual question is in italics.
Underlining is used in themark scheme extracts to indicate the keywords/phrases required for the mark.
Chem Factsheet
162. How to Answer Questions about Structure and Bonding
Summary of structure classification
STRUCTURE(the way in which the particles of a substance are arranged relative to each other)GIANT(a continuous 3D lattice of particles)MOLECULAR(small groups of atoms joinedby covalent bonds intodiscrete particles - molecules)IONIC(alternating, oppositelycharged ions held by theelectrostatic attractionbetween them - ionicbonding)METALLIC(metal cations in a 'sea' of mobile, delocalised electronsheld by the electrostaticattraction between the cationsand the negatively chargedelectrons between them)ATOMIC(atoms joined by covalentbonds in a continuous lattice)Typical of most compoundsof a metal combined with anon-metal.Typical of all metallic elements.Only found in diamond,graphite, silicon andsilicon dioxide.High melting and boilingpoints - as ionic bondingis a strong forceNon-conductors whensolid - as no mobilecharged particlesConduct when molten oraqueous (as ions are freeto move) and aredecomposed by thecurrent - electrolysis.Good conductors - due tomobile electronsGenerally high melting andboiling points - as metallicbonding is a strong force*Malleable and ductile - asmetallic bonding allowsrows of cations to slideover each other.High melting and boilingpoints - as covalent bondsare strong forcesNon-conductors - as nomobile charged particles -except for graphite whichhas mobile, delocalisedelectrons between layers of carbon atoms.Typical of most non-metalelements and mostcompounds of non-metalscombined with other non-metals (plus a few metal plusnon-metal compoundsLow melting and boilingpoints - as intermolecularforces are weak Non-conductors - as nomobile charged particlesBrittle when solid.A typical giant ionicstructure - sodium chlorideA typical giant metallicstructureA typical giant covalentstructure - diamondA typical molecular structure -butane
Chem Factsheet
162. How to Answer Questions about Structure and Bonding
Typical Exam Questions
Table 1 shows the electronegativity values of four different elements
(a)State the meaning of the term electronegativity (2 marks)
It’s typical for a definition such as this to be worth twomarks – in this case they are earned for:1.The ability/tendency/power of an atom to attractwithdraw electron density/a pair of electrons2.From a covalent bond/shared pair of electrons
(b)State the strongest type of intermolecular force in methane(CH 
 ) and in ammonia (NH 
 ) (2 marks)
The fact that the question refers to ‘intermolecular forces’immediately narrows each answer down to three possibilities;namely van der Waal’s forces, dipole-dipole attractions orhydrogen bonds.If you didn’t remember that methane is non-polar, thesimilarity between the electronegativity values for carbonand hydrogen should remind you that this is the case, whichmeans that only van der Waal’s forces are possible formethane.The much larger difference in electronegativity betweennitrogen and hydrogen should help to remind you thatammonia will be polar and, as a
+ hydrogen and a
-nitrogenare involved, the strongest intermolecular force present willbe hydrogen bonding.
(c)Use the values in Table 1 to explain how the strongest type of intermolecular force arises between two molecules of  ammonia (3 marks)
1.The first mark here is for a clear reference to the largedifference in electronegativity between the N and the H2.The second mark comes from stating that this gives riseto a dipole in the molecule with the N being
-and the Hbeing
+3.The third mark requires a specific reference to thehydrogen bond forming as an attraction between thelone pair on the N and the
+ H
(d)Phosphorus is in the same group of the Periodic Table as nitrogen. A molecule of PH 
reacts with an H 
ion to form a PH 
ion. Name the type of bond formed when PH 
reactswith H 
and explain how this bond is formed (3 marks)
The reference to phosphorus being in the same group asnitrogen should make you relate PH
to NH
, with which youshould be familiar. The key here is to recognise that the Pwill have a lone pair and that these two electrons will beshared with the H
giving rise to a dative / co-ordinate bond.)
(e)Arsenic is in the same group as nitrogen. It forms the compound AsH 
 . The boiling point pf AsH 
62.5°C and  the boiling point of NH 
 33.0°C. Suggest why the boiling point of AsH 
is lower than that of NH 
 . (1 mark)
It would be easy to spend too long on this and write toomuch but the clue is that there is only one mark available soall that is needed is to state that ammonia can form hydrogenbonds while the AsH
Table 1
H C N OElectronegativity2.
(f) State what is meant by the term polar when applied to a covalent bond (1 mark)
A simple statement that this refers to an uneven/unequalsharing of electrons is all that is needed for one mark 
(g)Consider the covalent bonds in molecules of hydrogen and water. State whether the covalent bonds in each case are polar or non-polar and explain your answers. (3 marks)
You need to remember that polarity will only arise whenelectrons are shared between atoms with differentelectronegativities so:1. The first mark is for correctly stating that hydrogenmolecule (H
) will contain non-polar bonds whilst watercontains polar (
) bonds (both statements neededfor one mark – make sure you don’t only state one ideaand assume that the other one is implied).2.The second mark is for explaining the lack of polarity inthe hydrogen molecule as the H atoms have the sameelectronegativity3.The third mark is for explaining the polarity in a watermolecule as being due to the oxygen atom being muchmore electronegative than the hydrogen(s).
(h) Ammonia is very soluble in water as it is able to form hydrogen bonds with water molecules. Complete the diagram below to show how an ammonia molecule forms a hydrogen bond with a water molecule. Include partial charges and all the lone pairs of electrons. (3 marks)
It is very surprising that many candidates throw marks awayby failing to follow specific instructions in a question! Thekey requirements here, which would be overlooked by many,are the need to include partial charges and
lone pairs.NHHHOHH
NHHHOHH1.The first mark is for showing at least one dipole on
molecule2.The second mark is for a combination of the lone pair onthe N
correctly showing the hydrogen bond – asolid line or an arrow would
be accepted3.The third mark is for showing
the lone pairs on theoxygen atom

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