I think it helps to start with the basics for this prompt: there are 3 types of bonds which are ionic, covalent and co-ordinate bonds. Ionic bonds focus on their oxidized states instead of overlaps of orbitals. This means that they do not have a specific bond, more of an electrostatic attraction. A covalent bond, by comparison, involves overlaps of orbitals between atoms. We already know that an atom makes a maximum of 6 – 8 bonds, a common example being XeF6 and (XeF8)2-. Lastly, co-ordinate bonds have very little overlap and little attractive interaction. Therefore, the central atom usually forms mostly 6 bonds per atom. As far as 8 bonds goes, an atom can form 8 bonds using its orbitals if it has the orbitals of appropriate energy and symmetry. Not all atoms can form 8 bonds. Xenon is specifically known to exhibit this property due to its large size, and low electronegativity compared to atoms before it in its period. In its normal state, Xenon has Electron configuration [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p6. Its 5d orbital is all vacant and has comparable energy with 5s and 5p. So it can use it in hybridization to extend its valency. It also makes a hybrid orbital sp3d2. This accounts for the 6 bonds formed by xenon. Two more bonds are formed through donation of 2 electrons by 3 fluoride ions in two more 5d orbitals. Making 8 bonds and using hybridization sp3d4. Since there are two fluoride ions the molecule gains a charge of -2. This will always remain as ionic molecule.
Our question to discuss this week is, would it be hypothetically possible for an atom to make 8 bonds. To answer that question, I would say yes, it would be possible for an atom to make 8 bonds. That being said, it is important to look at the three types of bonds such as ionic, covalent and co-ordinate covalent bond. We have all studied and learned about these types of bonds during the earlier weeks of this class. Therefore, there is no need to define each one. However, one thing to keep in mind is what occurs with the orbitals of atoms during each type of bond. For instance, with ionic bonding, there is no overlap of orbitals whereas a covalent bond involves overlap of orbitals between atoms. Hybridization, which we learned this week, is the mixing of atomic orbitals. Considering all of this information, it is possible for an atom to make 8 bonds. Of course, while it is possible, not all atoms have the ability to form 8 bonds. An atom could form 8 bonds using its orbitals if it has the orbitals of appropriate energy and symmetry. One example of this occurrence would be with a coordination compound which, according to our textbook, is a compound that contains coordinate covalent bonds between a metal and two or more polar molecules or ions.