The BasicsEdit

A giant covalent structure is a three dimensional structure of atoms held together (obviously) by Covalent bonds.

These atoms are often all the same - so the elements Silicon and Carbon in the allotropes Diamond and Graphite are Giant Covalent structures.

Buckminster fullerene (Bucky balls, to its friends) are not as the contain a fixed number of atoms - (C60).


Bucky Balls - pretty but so far useless.

You won't be asked about Bucky tubes or Graphene where (presumably) the number of Carbon atoms is variable.

Silicon dioxide is the only compound you are expected to know exists as a giant covalent structure.

Exam HintsEdit

Remember, all Giant Covalent structures will have high melting points.


When you explain why you should make sure you explain that the strong covalent bonds require a great deal of energy (and hence a very high temperature) to overcome. No one ever wants to write this because it seems so obvious but it's frequently on the mark scheme.

None of these structure should conduct except Graphite - it is the only one in which there are delocalised electrons.

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