A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between these atoms, ions or molecules that enables the formation of chemical compounds. The bond may result from the electrostatic force of attraction between oppositely charged ions as in ionic bonds or through the sharing of electrons as in covalent bonds. Therefore, the electromagnetic force plays a major role in determining the internal properties of most objects encountered in daily life.
The strength of chemical bonds varies considerably; there are “primary bonds” or “strong bonds” such as ionic, covalent and metallic bonds, and “weak bonds” or “secondary bonds” such as dipole–dipole interactions, the London dispersion force and hydrogen bonding. In this chapter, we will deal primarily with solids because solids are of the most concern in engineering applications of materials. Liquids and gases will be mentioned for comparative purposes only. Molecules in solids are bound tightly together. When the attractions are weaker, the substance may be in a liquid form and free to flow. Gases exhibit virtually no attractive forces between atoms or molecules, and their particles are free to move independently of each other.