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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 13 Issue 5 (2008) pp 284-286

Derivation and Use of a Total-Bonds Equation

Ray A. Gross, Jr.

Department of Physical Sciences & Engineering, Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD 20774,
Received March 5, 2008. Accepted July 17, 2008.

Published online: 1 October 2008

Abstract. The total number of bonds in a covalent compound is determined by the numbers and kinds of atoms in its molecular formula. An equation is derived for hydrocarbons on the basis that the number of bonds in a structure equals the number of bonds in the corresponding saturated, acyclic compound less its bond deficiency (i.e., the index of hydrogen deficiency). For a hydrocarbon, the number of bonds equals twice the number of carbon atoms plus half of the hydrogen atoms in the molecular formula. A general equation is then derived for any covalent compound on the same basis. The number of bonds equals one-half the sum of each kind of atom in the formula times its valence. The general equation is applicable to both inorganic and organic compounds, including hydrocarbons. The use of the general equation in concert with bond deficiency is exemplified.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; organic chemistry; structure and bonding; bond analysis, problem solving

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Issue date: October 1, 2008

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