Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 167–176 | Cite as

Theories of the chemical bond and its true nature

  • G. K. VemulapalliEmail author


Two different models for chemical bond were developed almost simultaneously after the Schrödinger formulation of quantum theory. These are known as the valence bond (VB) and molecular orbital (MO) theories. Initially chemists preferred the VB theory and ignored the MO theory. Now the VB theory is almost dropped out of currency. The context of discovery and Linus Pauling’s overpowering influence gave the VB theory its initial advantage. The current universal acceptance of the MO theory is due to its ability to provide direct interpretation of many different types of experiments now being pursued. In current research both localized bonds and delocalized charge distributions play important roles and the MO theory has been successful in giving a good account of both.


Chemical bond Linus Pauling R. S. Mulliken Valence bond theory Molecular orbital theory 



I am indebted to Carolyn Vemulapalli for editorial assistance and helpful suggestions and to Dr. J. Murdoch for very useful discussions. I thank the two reviewers for carefully reading and suggesting improvements and also for pointing out the ambiguities in the text sent for review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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