What are the characteristics of covalent compounds ?



Following are the typical characteristics of covalent compounds:

(i) Low melting and boiling points:

Covalent compounds consist of molecules held by weak forces. These can be easily overcome by heat. Thus, covalent compounds have low melting points and low boiling points.

(ii) Non-conducting nature:

Covalent compounds do not conduct electricity, i.e., electricity does not pass through the covalent compounds. This is because the covalent compounds do not contain ions, or free electrons. Sugar is a covalent compound, and its solution does not conduct electricity. Solutions of polar covalent compounds, e.g., HCl, conduct electricity due to the presence of ions in solutions.

(iii) Solubility:

Covalent compounds are usually insoluble not polar solvents like water. The covalent compounds however, dissolve in non-polar solvents, like benzene, toluene, etc.

(iv) Slow rate of reaction:

the reactions of the covalent compounds are quite slow. This is because the covalent compounds take part in reactions as molecules, and the molecular reactions are slow.

(v) Isomerism:

Covalent bonds are rigid and directional. Therefore, these can give different arrangements of atoms in space. So, a single molecular formula may represent a number of different compounds with different properties. This phenomenon is called isomerism.