GCSE Chemistry: Giant Covalent Structures

5th April 2017

New GCSE Science syllabus

CHEMISTRY - Key revision for giant covalent structures and their properties


Here we’re going to look at giant covalent structures and their properties. This is a very important topic in the chemistry syllabus and is something you’ll have to be confident in understanding when it comes to your examinations.


Giant covalent structures are made up of lots of atoms which are each joined to adjacent atoms. All these atoms are joined by covalent bonds and are usually arranged into large lattices. This lattices are very strong because of the amount of atoms that make up the giant structure.


Below is a picture of the structures of graphite and diamond. For more on these, check out our graphite and diamond song.


Properties of giant covalent structures:

  • They have very high melting points

    • Strong covalent bonds take longer to break

    • E.g. Graphite’s melting point is over 3600°C

  • Their electrical conductivity is variable

    • Diamond cannot conduct electricity

    • Graphite can conduct electricity as it contains free electrons

    • Silicon is a semiconductor

Learning these key points on giant covalent structures and their properties will help you with your exam. As well as these key points, there’s also a song to help you memorise what we’ve been through.


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