To calculate electronegativy, find the electronegative values of each element involved in the bond. Once you know those values, subtract the higher from the lower to determine the electronegative difference.
- Obtain an electronegativity value chart
Every element on the periodic table has a set electronegativity; these charts are easily obtainable through the Internet or a general chemistry textbook. Electronegativity is the ability of an element to attract electrons towards itself.
- Determine the electronegativity of the individual elements in the bond
Using the table obtained in step one, find the electronegative value of each element. On the periodic table, electronegativity increases from left to right along a period and decreases as you go down a group.
- Determine the electronegative difference between the two elements
Subtract the smaller electronegative value obtained from the larger electronegative value. This positive value is the electronegative difference for the bond. A larger electronegative difference represents a polar bond in which the sharing of electrons is unequal.
- Use the electronegative difference to determine the type of bond
The closer the electronegative difference is to zero, the less polar a bond is. An electronegative difference of zero represents a nonpolar bond. A value between zero and two represents a polar covalent bond. A value greater than two represents an ionic bond. Fluorine is the most electronegative element, with an electronegativity of 4.0.