Properties of Covalent Substances

The covalent compounds consist of molecules which are electrically neutral in nature. The forces of attraction present between the molecules are less strong as compared to the forces present in ionic compounds. Therefore, the properties of the covalent compounds are different from those of the ionic compounds.

1. Physical State

Because of the weak forces of attraction present between discrete molecules, called intermolecular forces, the covalent compounds exist as a gas or a liquid or a solid. For example O2, N2, CO2 are gases; water and CCl4 are liquids and iodine is a solid.

2. Melting and Boiling Points

As the forces of attraction between the molecules are weak in nature, a small amount of energy is sufficient to overcome them. Hence, the melting points and boiling points of covalent compounds are lower than those of ionic compounds.

For example, melting point of nephthalene which is a covalent compound is 353 K (80°C). Similarly, the boiling point of carbon tetrachloride which is another covalent liquid compound is 350 K (77°C).

3. Electrical Conductivity

The covalent compounds contain neutral molecules and do not have charged species such as ions or electrons which can carry charge. Therefore, these compounds do not conduct electricity and are called poor conductors of electricity.

4. Solubility

Covalent compounds are generally not soluble in water but are soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol, chloroform, benzene, ether.