What is a hydrogen bond?

Science for Youth May 29, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Water has several special properties. A hydrogen bond is unusual because it can exist in its three different forms at the same temperature. The reason for many of water's special properties, is the type of bond or attachment that is formed between the atoms of the water molecule. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water attract other molecules that contain oxygen and hydrogen atoms and form a bond with them. This bond is called the hydrogen bond. The two hydrogen atoms in the water molecule are attached at wide angles to the oxygen atom. This wide angle creates a lot of space in the molecule and makes it easy for other substances or other water molecules to fill in this space. Try your hand at this activity to better understand hydrogen bonding or check out this video. 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.