# How to know covalent bond with highest polarity?

Aug 8, 2015

There are quite a few ways of quantifying bond polarity; many rely on differences in electronegativity, elemental ionization energies, and measurement of bond dipole moment. Electronegativity is possibly the most useful.

#### Explanation:

Electronegativity is conceived (what do I mean by this?) to be the ability of an atom in a molecule to polarize electron density towards itself. There are simple and complicated tables of electronegativity, of which the Pauling Scale is the earliest and is still useful. On this scale, the alkali metal Fr had a value of 0.7, and fluorine, the most electronegative element, had a value of 4.0 (the units are quite arbitrary).

The difference in electronegativity ($\Delta$EN) could be used as an indicator of the type of bonding interaction. Large values of $\Delta$EN indicated an ionic bond; smaller values signified a polar covalent bond; small values characterized a purely covalent interaction . Of course, a homonuclear diatomic molecule would have $\Delta$EN = 0.

To return to your question (finally!), the most polar covalent bond is likely between $H - F$, $\Delta$EN = 1.8 (Pauling's scale). This value probably characterizes a very polar covalent molecule. Larger differences probably characterize an ionic bond.

Please note that the above treatment lies well beyond A-level standard.