4. Electron Sharing and      Covalent Bonds  
     Nitrogen and Ammonia

The weakness of long -N-N-N-N-N- chains and the stability of the triple-bonded N2 molecules both make long-chain nitrogen compounds explosively unstable. A few of the shorter ones have been synthesized. Hydrazine, H2N-NH2 , is a good rocket fuel, but the longer chain compounds are too dangerous to handle.

If nitrogen atoms are separated by carbon atoms in chains, then the nitrogen lone pairs do not repel significantly, and the chain is stable. Many important organic and biological molecules are built from mixed chains of carbon and nitrogen. Proteins, for example, have a backbone of


Nitrogen atoms also make double bonds with carbon and oxygen quite readily.

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