It was nearly a year ago when I appeared for my first interview through the KVPY (a research oriented scholarship exam) when one of the questions the panel asked me was :

What is a chemical bond?

I had always pondered about the same question for ages and I had never come up to a satisfactory answer. Every book I have read keeps on talking about ionic bonds, which aren't 'bonds' at all but rather electroststic forces of attraction, and how covalent bonds are 'sharing' of electrons between two nuclei. This gets even more confusing when some books state that the 'nature' of bonding between certain atoms is around 50% ionic and 50% covalent.

Amiss all the confusion I had convinced my self that there is truely speaking no such thing as a 'bond'. All there existed was electro static forces of attraction which were either strong or either weak. (because there are only 'three fundamental forces' that I know of. )

Electrons when they are bound to multiple atoms together (like how planets around binary stars work) seemed to explain satisfactorily to me what are bonds.

However the panelist (mind you but I have heard that these panelists are actual scientists) who asked the question was not very happy with my answer and kept on trying to force me to talk about ionic and covalent bonds, by asking me how we classify them and which is stronger.

Is my interpretation correct? Why did the panelist not like my explanation?

An answer with highschool (and slightly higher) mathematics is okay, if not an explanation would be nice, otherwise it would be perfectly fine if you could point out mistakes in my argument and tell me if I was on the right track for interpretation.

In reference to the above context, would it be possible for someone to brief over a few different approaches developed to understand chemical bonding, the forces behind them, and the pros and cons of each theory.

  • $\begingroup$ Needless to say, I didn't qualify for the scholarship, and still get mocked by friends for answering 'there is no such thing as a "bond"'. $\endgroup$
    – Debaditya
    Aug 1, 2018 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/86918/… $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 1, 2018 at 21:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In short, you can argue that there is 'no such thing as a bond' if you define a bond as some kind of entity itself - however there certainly is such a thing if you define a bond as two atoms bound by a force which results in a stable outcome. You may be interested in reading into QTAIM, developed by Bader and coworkers over many years, which rationalises this line of thought. Also read "The nature of chemical bonds" (or along those lines) by Pauling. $\endgroup$
    – obackhouse
    Aug 1, 2018 at 23:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also - the closure of this question doesn't limit the number of interesting answers which can be presented - I'd suggest trying to form a less broad question if you want to open up the opportunity for a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – obackhouse
    Aug 1, 2018 at 23:39


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