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Published by: Examville.com on Feb 02, 2009
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What is electronegativity and how does it vary around the Periodic Table? Whatis the reason of its variation? It will also tell that differences in electronegativityaffect bond type and also explain what are polar bonds and polar molecules.To understand all this in details, please go through the page.
Electronegativity is a measure of the tendency of an atom to attract a bondingpair of electrons.It can also be defined as the power of ability of an atom to attract the shared pair of electrons towards itself in a molecule. Shared pair means bonding pair of electrons.Two scales of electronegativity are used commonly: the Pauling scale (proposedin1932) and the Mulliken scale (proposed in 1934). Another proposed scale is theAllred-Rochow scale.The
Pauling scale
is the most commonly used to measure electronegativity andit is based on bond energy data. Fluorine is the most electronegative elementhaving value of 4.0, but caesium and francium are the least electronegativehaving value 0.7.Pauling pointed out that the difference in electronegativities l
l = 0.102
Mulliken scale
is related to the values of electron gain enthalpy andionization enthalpy of the concerned atoms. This scale explains that an atom with
high value of ionization enthalpy and low electron gain enthalpy will have greater tendency of attracting the electrons and thus will have high value of electronegativity. It is represented as:
Electronegativity depends on the atomic size: 
Smaller the size of an atom, greater will be the attraction for the bonding electronand larger will be the value of electronegativity.Example: Atomic radius of oxygen is less than that of nitrogen. Thereforeelectronegativity of oxygen (3.5) is more than that of nitrogen (3)
Polar character of covalent bond 
: It can be explained with the help of threecombinations.
1) Combination of atoms having equal electronegativity:
Consider a bond between two atoms, A and B. having same electronegativity.
If the atoms are of equal electronegativity, then both have the same tendency toattract the bonding pair of electrons, and then this bond pair will be found
on average 
mid way between the two atoms .For example, bond formation betweenH
and Cl
molecules.This type of bond could be considered of as a "pure" covalent bond - where theelectrons are shared evenly between the two atoms.
2) Combination of atoms having different electronegativity:
Again consider two atoms A & B. B is more electronegative than A. So B willattract the electron pair more strongly than A.B end of the bond will have large share of electron density as compared to that of A. So it becomes slightly negative (-). At the same time, the A end will becomeslightly positive (+) due to the shortage of electrons.

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