9 Double Covalent Bond Examples: Detailed Explanations

Covalent double bond was first introduced by Russian chemist, Alexander Butlerov. In this article, “double covalent bond examples” different types of double covalent bond with clear explanations are discussed briefly.

The examples are-

  1. Oxygen
  2. Carbon Dioxide
  3. Sulfur Dioxide
  4. Nitrogen Dioxide
  5. Ozone
  6. Ethylene
  7. Acetone
  8. Formaldehyde
  9. Dimethyl Sulfoxide
  10. Diazene

What is Double Covalent Bond?

Covalent bond is formed due to sharing of their outer shell electrons between the participating atoms to form the bond. The sharing of electron pairs between two atoms depends upon the electronegativity of the respective atom. It may be single or sigma bond, double or pi bond and triple bond.

Main outlook of the article is double covalent bond.  Double covalent bonds are formed due to the overlap of atomic orbitals in lateral orientation. Double bond is containing one sigma and one pi bond. Double bonds are relatively shorter and shorter than single bond. Bond order of double bond is 2. Electron density of double bond is greater and makes the molecule more reactive towards a strong electron acceptor.


Double covalent bond is formed between two oxygen atoms by sharing of four electron pairs. Electrons from 2p orbitals participate in the double bond formation and it is denoted by O=O.

double covalent bond examples
Covalent Bond
Image Credit: Flickr.com

 Carbon dioxide

In carbon dioxide two double bond is present between carbon with two oxygen and expressed as O=C=O. 2P orbitals of both the carbon and oxygen participate in the bond formation. Head on overlap between two orbitals give sigma bonding and lateral overlap forms pi bond between two atoms. After sharing two electrons from each oxygen for the formation of double bond rest of the four valence electrons of oxygen remain as nonbonded electron pairs.

image 63
Double Covalent Bond in Carbon Dioxide.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Sulfur dioxide

Bonding of sulfur dioxide is similar to the carbon dioxide. Structure and geometry of these two species are different. Carbon dioxide has linear structure whereas sulfur dioxide has angular orientation. Like CO2, in SO2 sulfur has one double bond with each of the oxygen.

Sulfur shares its four valence electrons and oxygen shares its two out of the four valence electrons to form the double bonds. Thus, oxygen has two electron pairs as nonbonded but sulfur has one electron pair as nonbonded electron pairs.

image 64
Double Covalent Bond in Sulfur Dioxide

To know more please follow: 4 Single Covalent Bond Examples : Detailed Insights And Facts

Nitrogen Dioxide

It has also angular structure (<ONO bond angle 1150) like sulfur dioxide. It is written as the resonance structure in which both the nitrogen and oxygen bonds are equivalent. Nitrogen is singly bonded with one oxygen atom and doubly bonded with another oxygen atom. But these two bonds are almost same. Nitrogen uses four out of its five electrons in the covalent bond formation with oxygen and rest of the one electron remain as nonbonded. One of the two oxygen uses two electrons and another one shares none of its valance electron to form the double and single covalent bond with nitrogen respectively.

image 65
Resonance Double Bond Structure of Nitrogen Dioxide


It is an inorganic gaseous molecule with a bent structure having bond angle 116.80. Central oxygen is attached by one single bond with an oxygen and by one double bond with another oxygen atom. It is also expressed as the resonance structure like nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Central oxygen uses its four electrons to form the covalent bonds and other oxygen atoms use their two electrons and no electrons to form the double bond and single bond with the central oxygen atom respectively.

Ozone resonance structures
Resonance Structure of Ozone.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

To know more please check: Is O2 a triple bond: Why, How, Characteristics and Detailed Facts


In ethylene, two carbons are bonded by double bond with each other and four hydrogens are attached by single bond (two in each carbon) with the carbons.  All these six atoms (four hydrogen atoms and two carbon atoms) are coplanar and create an angle 117.40. 2px or 2py orbitals from each carbon atom overlap laterally with each other to form the pi bond and sigma bond is formed due to the head on overlap between 2pz orbitals.

image 66
Structure of Ethylene


Acetone is an organic liquid compound which is high volatile and flammable in nature. In acetone (CH3COCH3), carbonyl carbon atom (not the methyl carbon) is attached with the oxygen atom by double bond. The methyl carbon (CH3) is bonded with the carbonyl carbon by a single covalent bond or sigma bond. Two methyl carbon atoms are also attached with the three hydrogen atoms (in each of the carbon) by sigma bond.

To know more please check: 4 nonpolar covalent bond examples: Detailed Insights And Facts


Formaldehyde is the simplest aldehyde and volatile in nature. Like acetone, carbonyl carbon is attached with the oxygen atom by a double covalent bond and two methyl group is substituted by hydrogen atoms in formaldehyde. Two hydrogen is bonded with the carbonyl carbon by one single bond for each of the hydrogen.

Dimethyl Sulfoxide

Dimethyl sulfoxide is an organosulfur compound widely used as polar aprotic solvent. This colorless liquid can dissolve both the polar and nonpolar substance in it. In its structure sulfur atom is attached with the oxygen atom by double bond and two methyl group is attached with the sulfur atom by single covalent bond known as sigma bond. Methyl carbon atoms are also attached with the three hydrogen groups (in each of the carbon) by single bond.

image 69
Structure of Dimethyl Sulfoxide

To know more please go through: 5+ Double Bond Examples: Detailed Insights And Facts


Diazene, also known as diimide is a compound with molecular formula (NH2)2. It presents as two geometrical isomers (cis and trans). In the structure of diazene, two nitrogen atoms are attached with each other by double covalent bond and attached with the two hydrogen atoms (each hydrogen in each nitrogen) by single sigma bond. One pair of each electron in two nitrogen atoms remain as nonbonded.

image 70
Double Covalent Bond in Diazene

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When covalent bonds are formed?

Answer: Covalent bond is formed between two atoms by sharing of outer shell electron pairs between the two participating atoms. Like the ionic bonds electrons from one atom or molecule are not completely transferred to another atom or molecule.

Why the reactivity of double covalent bond is greater than the single covalent bond?

Answer: Double covalent bonds are relatively more electron rich than the single covalent bonds. Thus, electrophiles attack easily to the molecular species having double bond than single bond.

How many electrons participate in double bond formation?

Answer: A covalent bond is formed by the participation of two electrons. So, four electrons are involved in formation of one double bond.

Why double bonds are shorter than the single covalent bond?

Answer: Bond order of a double bond and a single bond is 2 and 1 respectively. As, bond order is dependent upon the bond strength proportionally and the bond length (by inversely proportional). Thus, double covalent bonds are relatively shorter than the single covalent bond.

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