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This question already has an answer here:

As far as I know, -covalent bonds are formed because atoms are unstable -unfilled valence electrons -want to fill up their outer rings and become stable

BUT, why does compounds like ClF3 exist? Why do their valence shells have more than 8 electrons? Isn't it about "filling up the shell"?

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marked as duplicate by Todd Minehardt, Jon Custer, NotEvans., permeakra, Wildcat Aug 26 '16 at 19:14

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Atoms form covalent bonds as a result of the Octet Rule. The Octet Rule states that all atoms in a molecule need to have eight electrons in their valence shell. This rule can be satisfied by sharing, losing or gaining electrons. A covalent bond allows atoms to satisfy the Octet Rule via sharing. The reason atoms in covalent bonds satisfy the Octet Rule through sharing rather than losing or gaining electrons is because covalent bonds form between atoms with similar electronegativities. Electronegativity measures the tendency of an atom to attract electrons. Atoms with similar electronegativities are more willing to share electrons than those with different electronegativities. Up to three covalent bonds can form at one time in a molecule. In a single bond, one pair of electrons is shared between two atoms. A double bond shares two pairs of electrons; it is stronger than a single bond, but it also creates a less stable molecule because it is more reactive. The triple bond shares three pairs of electrons, making it the least stable covalent bond.

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  • $\begingroup$ Octet rule doesn't cause anything, and all other statements in your answer are more or less inaccurate, imprecise or wrong. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Aug 26 '16 at 20:42
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Atoms in period 3 and above can have more than 8 e- in outer shell because the electrons have access to empty d orbitals. Hence molecules like SF6 can form.

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