How do single double and triple bonds compare?

1 Answer
Sep 11, 2016

They differ in the number of electrons that are shared between the two atoms.


A single bond is a sigma bond formed by the head on overlapping of σ orbitals of bonding atoms.

In multiple bonds there are, in addition to a sigma bond, pi bonds, which are formed by sideways overlap of #"p"# orbitals of the bonding atoms.

A sigma bond is stronger than a pi bond, which can be accounted for by the less effective sideways overlap in pi bonds than the head on/end on overlap in a sigma bond.

So, simply, a double bond contains one sigma bond and one pi bond while a triple bond contains one sigma bond and two pi bonds.

The order of strength of bonds is

Triple bond > Double bond > Single bond.