Is N2 Ionic or Covalent? (And Why?)

Is N2 Ionic or Covalent

N2 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 (N) are nonmetals. So when they combine, it forms a covalent molecule.

Well, now you have got to know that N2 is a covalent molecule, but let me explain the in-depth reason why N2 is a covalent molecule.

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

Why is N2 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 N2, both the atoms are nonmetals.

Hence the bond between them is a covalent bond.

How does the covalent bond form in N2?

In N2, there are two Nitrogen atoms; 

About Nitrogen (N):

Nitrogen atom have 7 electrons.

The electrons arrangement in Nitrogen (N) is 2, 5.

So the outermost orbit of Nitrogen atom has 5 electrons.

Now in order to achieve a stable octet, the Nitrogen atom needs 3 more electrons.

nitrogen

Hence during the chemical reaction, the Nitrogen atom will gain 3 electrons from the combining atom to form a stable octet.

What happens when N and N combine?

When N and N combine with each other, both the Nitrogen atoms mutually share their 3-3 electrons with each other.

Because of this, both the Nitrogen atoms will have 8 electrons in their outermost orbit.

n2

As a result, both the nitrogen atoms will have a stable octet.

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

Thus, N2 is a covalent molecule.

Is N2 polar covalent or nonpolar covalent?

In order to know whether N2 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 Nitrogen = 3.04.

So for N2, the electronegativity difference (ΔEN) = 3.04 – 3.04 = 0

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

n2

Hence, N2 is a nonpolar covalent molecule.

I hope you have understood the reason why N2 is a nonpolar covalent compound.

Check out other compounds to see whether they are ionic or covalent;
Is NaF Ionic or Covalent?
Is PCl3 Ionic or Covalent?
Is SF6 (Sulfur hexafluoride) Ionic or Covalent?
Is SO3 Ionic or Covalent?
Is CaF2 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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