Is a single covalent bond the strongest?

1 Answer
Apr 24, 2016

No, but the type of bond that forms a single bond is the strongest.


Double bonds are stronger than single bonds, and triple bonds are stronger than double bonds - but the types of bonds in each one are stronger in the single bond.

Covalent bonds are formed by orbitals of electrons merging between two atoms. This can be a head-on overlap called a #sigma# (sigma) bond, or a side-on connection called a #pi# bond.

Obviously the #sigma#-bond is stronger because it is two orbitals directly merging into each other, while the #pi#-bond is the weaker.

A single bond consists of only one bond, a #sigma#, while double bond include #1sigma+1pi# and triple bond have #1sigma+2pi#. You can only have a single #sigma# between two atoms for geometric reasons.

But even though some of the bonds making up, for example, a triple bond, are weaker than the bonds making up a single bond, there are still more of them, so a triple bond is still stronger than a single bond.

You could also say that the net strength of three single bonds is stronger than the strength of one triple bond.