Sigma Bond and Pi Bond


The Sigma and pi bonds are covalent chemical bonds. Sigma and pi bonds are formed by atomic orbital overlap. Sigma bonds are formed by the overlapping end - to - end and Pi bonds occur when one atomic orbital lobe overlaps another.

Both names sigma and pi are derived from the Greek letters and the promise. A sigma bond, \[\sigma\] π, fits a similar atomic orbital "s," and a pi bond, π, has the same orbital structure of the p orbital (again, as viewed along the bond axis, both times).

Generally, sigma bonds are stronger than pi bonds. Both are used extensively to predict the behavior of molecules in molecular orbital theory.

Sigma(σ) Bond

Sigma Bond Definition

The covalent bond formed by the coaxial overlap of atomic orbitals is called a sigma bond. For example, the methane molecule contains 4 C-H sigma bonding.

This type of covalent bond is formed by the overlap of bonding orbitals along the internuclear axis from end to end (head-on). This is called head overlapping or axial overlapping. Any of the following types of combinations of atomic orbitals may form this.

s-s overlapping: In this case, two half - filled s-orbitals are interacting along the internuclear axis, as shown below.

s-p overlapping: This sort of overlap takes place between half - full s-orbitals of one atom and half-full p-orbitals of another.

p–p overlapping: This sort of overlap exists between half - filled p - orbitals of the two atoms that approach.

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Pi (π) Bond

Pi Bonds Definition

The covalent bond resulting from the coaxial interaction of atomic orbitals is named the bonding sigma. For example, a methane molecule contains 4 C-H sigma bonds.

Throughout pi bond formation, the atomic orbitals converge, so that their axes appear parallel to each other and perpendicular to the central axis. The side-overlapping orbitals consist of two types of saucer charged clouds above and below the surface of the atoms involved.

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Strength of Sigma and Pi Bonds

Essentially, a bond 's strength depends on the extent to which it overlaps. The duplication of orbitals arises to a greater degree in the case of a sigma bond. Therefore, it is stronger than the pi bond where the extent of overlap occurs to a lesser extent. Further, it is important to note that pi bond(s) are produced in addition to a sigma bond in the formation of multiple bonds between two atoms of a molecule.

Difference Between Sigma Bond and Pi Bond


Sigma Bond

pi Bond

Formation of Bonds

Sigma bonds are formed by the axial overlap of atomic orbitals half-filled with atoms.

Pi bonds are formed through the lateral overlap of the half - filled atomic orbitals

Overlapping Orbitals

In sigma bonds, orbitals may overlap: two hybrid orbitals, one hybrid and one pure orbital or two pure orbitals

For pi bonds, two pure (i.e., unhybridised) orbitals are always alternating orbitals.


It exists independently.

Pi-bond always exists along with bonding to sigma.

Rotation of Two Carbon Atoms

free rotation is seen in sigma bond

Free rotation is restricted]’[

Bond Strength

The bond strength of sigma bonds is more than pi bonds.

Pi bonds are less strong than sigma bonds

Bond Forming Order

Sigma bonds are formed first when atoms come closer

Preceding the development of pi-bonds is the creation of sigma bonds.

Number of Bonds

There is only one sigma bond between two atoms.

There can be two pi bonds between two atoms.

Control of Geometry in Polyatomic Molecules

Only sigma bonds are involved in the control of geometry in polyatomic molecules.

Pi bonds are not involved in the control of geometry in polyatomic molecules.

Number of bonds in a double bond

There is one sigma bond in a double bond.

There is only one pi bond observed ina double bond.

Number of bonds in a triple bond

 There is one sigma bond in a triple bond.

There are two pi bonds are seen triple bond.

Symmetry of the Charge

Sigma bond has cylindrical charge symmetry around the bond axis

Pi bond has no symmetry.


Sigma bonds are more reactive.

Pi bonds are less reactive

Shape Determination

Shape of a molecule is determined by sigma bond

Shape of a molecule is not determined by pi bond.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the sigma bond example?

Put it simply, single bonds are sigma bonds, and double / triple bonds are Pi bonds. The basic C - H bond or C-X bond would be an illustration of Sigma bonds, while definitions of pi bonds would be C= O. And CBN, the first bond being a sigma bond, and the second / third bond being pi bonds.

2. What is the difference between sigma and pi bond?

Sigma bond is a chemical bond formed by the co - axial or linear interaction of two atoms in the atomic orbitals. Pi bond is a type of covalent bond between atoms where the electrons are at the top and bottom of the axis binding the nuclei of the atoms joined together.

3. Which is the stronger sigma or pi bond?

Sigma bonds are formed by the similarity of atomic orbitals head-on. Whereas pi bonds are formed by sideways overlapping of atomic orbitals, in addition to sigma bonds. Such a marked difference in orbital overlap results in a stronger sigma bond than the pi bond.

4. Are pi bonds lower in energy than sigma bonds?

Because the pi bond has a smaller number of electrons between the atoms, in the MO diagram it is of higher energy and is weaker than the sigma bond.