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1) Primary Bonding of Materials

a. Primary Bonds
Primary bonds involve sharing or donating electrons between atoms to form a more
stable electron configuration. All elements except inert gases have an unfilled valence
shell. For example, sodium has a nucleus containing 11 protons and orbiting shells
containing 11 electrons. The outer shell has one valence electron.

Then forming

Primary bonding occurs when electrons are lost or gained so that the outer shell is
filled. For example, if a sodium atom loses its valence electron, it is left with a full outer
shell of electrons and if a chlorine atom, which has only seven electrons in the outer shell,
gains an electron, its outer shell is then full.
b. Ionic Bonding
An ionic bond can form between two elements when one has a small number of
electrons in the valence shell (metal) and one has an almost full outer shell (non-metal).
Atoms are more likely to accept electrons if they have an almost full outer shell (elements
on the right of the periodic table).
Sodium and chlorine form an ionic bond, with sodium giving up an electron from its
valence shell and donating it to the chlorine atom to complete its valence shell.
The non metal atoms attract valence electrons from metal atoms to become negatively
charged. Cooperatively, the metal atom becomes positively charged from losing one or
more electrons.
It is the attraction between two
oppositely charged ions that forms the
bond. This bond is non-directional,
leading to freedom in the way they
pack BUT ions of opposite sign
must surround each other to retain the
attraction between ions

Ionic bonds are strong and stiff. As a result they generally give a material with:

High strength

High elastic modulus

High melting point

Poor electrical conductivity

Some examples of ionic bonding are:

Magnesia (MgO)

Alumina (Al2O3)


c. Covalent Bonding
In covalent bonding, a stable electron configuration is created by sharing of electrons
between neighbouring atoms. Two atoms that are covalently bonded will share at least one
electron from each atom.

The electrons are shared between

in a 3D structure
in methane.
(CH4) where the bonds are
highly directional. This directionality dictates the atomic packing.
In diamond, the carbon atoms build up into a 3D array with the bonds pointing
towards the corners of a tetrahedron.

Diamond atoms sharing electrons.

Covalent bonds can be very stiff and generally give a material with a:

Very high elastic modulus

High (inherent) strength1

High melting point

Low electrical conductivity

Covalent bonding is the dominant bonding found in silicate ceramics and glasses. It

also occurs in the backbone of polymer chains and in the cross-links in thermosetting

The inherent strength is high but in practice the strength can be low because of the brittle

nature of the material.

d. Metallic Bonding
In metallic bonding, the electrons are surrendered to a common pool and become
shared by all the atoms in the solid metal.

Metallic bonding is found in metals and their alloys. When the atoms give up their
valence electrons, they form ions. These ions are held together by the electron cloud
surrounding them.
Metallic bonding generally results in a material being strong and stiff and gives:

High elastic modulus

High strength

Good electrical conductivity (because the electrons can move easily)

Metallic lustre

High ductility


Relations of Crystal and Metal


Crystal imperfection/defect