I am designing a game for students which has a sandbox for atoms to create molecules like building blocks. I have the valance of each atom mapped and they can bond with other atoms based on their valency. My question is, is it possible for an atom to bond with another atom just because they can technically form an ionic or covalent bond? Researching about this matter made me believe energy levels contribute to forming of molecules in a reaction but taking out temperature, pressure and energy from the equation, is it valid to say an atom can bond with another if there are free valence electrons?

If you would like to try out the game (this is not an advertisement, the app is still in testing) check ChemistryCat on Google Play Store.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Well, if you don’t care about whether the resulting compound is stable or not, then yes, everything can bond with everything. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2021 at 14:03
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Well, the real question is do you care whether the molecules you make by this method are realistic or not? Making molecules by randomly connecting atoms together according to their valencies is quite trivial. On the other hand, making molecules that stand a chance of existing in the real world is quite non-trivial. Learning what's realistic and what isn't realistic is why people study chemistry for years. If you don't care (as in if that's not the aim of your game), then you can do whatever you want. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2021 at 15:05
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ As I mentioned, everything can bond with everything. The real question is not whether atoms can bond or not; the question is whether the resulting compound is stable or not. Stability is most certainly affected by temperature. However, I would not consider an "upper bound" of temperature to be useful, because stability usually decreases with temperature. Going into any more detail as to what is stable and what isn't would be way too long, I'm afraid. That would basically be explaining the entirety of chemistry as a science. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2021 at 15:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Valence is not always a good criteria to decide whether a compound is possible. For example, iron and carbon make a compound $\ce{Fe3C}$ which is impossible to reprenset with the possible valencies of these atoms. The same is valid for alloys. $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Nov 30, 2021 at 19:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Since you are using real elements, this actually makes the game counter-educational as it simply teaches wrong things. Other games such as SpaceChem also do this, and it's evil from a chemistry teacher's perspective. Knocking out of the head the colorful nonsense that kids saw on their screens takes time. I suggest to either go full Imaginationland with simplified made-up chemical elements and rules for a dopamine kick for toddlers, or invest some time (or a lot, in fact) in studying simulation of bonding and molecular structures used in real life. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Dec 1, 2021 at 9:08


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.