Is H2 Ionic or Covalent? (And Why?)

Is H2 Ionic or Covalent

H2 is a covalent (nonpolar covalent) molecule because when one nonmetal combines with another nonmetal, it usually forms a covalent molecule (or compound). Here, both the atoms (H) are nonmetals. So when they combine, it forms a covalent molecule.

Well, now you have got to know that H2 is a covalent molecule, but let me explain the in-depth reason why H2 is a covalent molecule.

If you are a visual learner like me, then here is a short one minute video for you.

Why is H2 a Covalent molecule?

As mentioned above, you can simply remember that when the nonmetal combines with another nonmetal, the bond between them is a covalent bond.

Here in H2, both the atoms are nonmetals.

Hence the bond between them is a covalent bond.

How does the covalent bond form in H2?

In H2, there are two Hydrogen atoms; 

About Hydrogen (H):

Hydrogen atom have 1 electron.

It has only 1 orbit and there is only 1 electron in this orbit.

Now in order to achieve a stable duplet, the Hydrogen atom needs 1 more electron.

hydrogen

Hence during the chemical reaction, the Hydrogen atom will gain 1 electron from the combining atom to form a stable duplet.

What happens when H and H combine?

When H and H combine with each other, both the Hydrogen atoms mutually share their 1-1 electrons with each other.

Because of this, both the Hydrogen atoms will have 2 electrons in their outermost orbit.

h2

As a result, both the hydrogen atoms will have a stable duplet.

And finally, as the bond formed between the hydrogen atoms is due to the mutual sharing of electrons, it is considered a covalent bond.

Thus, H2 is a covalent molecule.

Is H2 polar covalent or nonpolar covalent?

In order to know whether H2 is a polar covalent molecule or nonpolar covalent molecule, we have to check the electronegativity difference of the combining atoms.

If the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) is less than 0.4, then the bond is nonpolar covalent bond. 

If the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) is between 0.4 to 1.7, then the bond is polar covalent bond. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Now the electronegativity of Hydrogen = 2.2.

So for H2, the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 2.2 – 2.2 = 0

This value is less than 0.4, which indicates that the bond between both the Hydrogen (H) atoms is nonpolar covalent bond.

h2

Hence, H2 is a nonpolar covalent molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason why H2 is a nonpolar covalent compound.

Check out other compounds to see whether they are ionic or covalent;
Is CF4 Ionic or Covalent?
Is MgF2 Ionic or Covalent?
Is CBr4 Ionic or Covalent?
Is NF3 Ionic or Covalent?
Is NaNO3 Ionic or Covalent? 

Author

Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online chemistry learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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