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POGIL: Chemical Bonding

Students will be able to:

• Understand the differences between ionic, covalent and metallic bonding
• Link ionic, covalent, and metallic bonding with the physical properties of matter

Have you ever accidentally used salt instead of sugar? Salt and sugar may look the same, but they
obviously taste very different and also very different chemically. They are held together by different
chemical bonds. Chemical bonds hold atoms together in a compound. We will look at the differences
between the chemical bonds that hold salt and sugar together.

Model 1: Determining Type of Bonds (Type of Atoms)

Directions: Use the chart below and your periodic table to answer the questions that follow.

Group A and Group B both show different compounds made by bonding different elements together.
There are two types of bonding in food science, as shown in these two groupings. Let’s take a closer
look at the elements in each compound to see what makes a compound IONIC or COVALENT.

Group A Group B
NaCl (Sodium Chloride) H2O (Dihydrogen Monoxide)
C6H12O6 (Dextrose)
KI (Potassium Iodide)

MgO (Magnesium Oxide) C6H4Cl2 (Paradichlorobenzene)

Li2O (Lithium Oxide) CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)
KF (Potassium Fluoride) HF (Hydrofluoric Acid)
FeBr3 (Iron (III) Bromide) NH3 (Ammonia)
CaCl2 (Calcium Chloride) NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide)
NiI2 (Nickel(II)Iodide) CH4 (Methane)
BaS (Barium Sulfide) CF4 (Carbon Tetraflouride)

Critical Thinking Questions:

1. What type of element are all of the FIRST elements in the GROUP A compounds? Where are
they found on the periodic table?

2. What type of element are all of the SECOND elements that make up each compound in
GROUP A? What side of the periodic table do you find these SECOND elements on?

BIG IDEA #1: When a _____________________ and a _____________________

come together, they make an IONIC BOND.
3. What do you notice about ALL of the elements in GROUP B?

4. What side of the periodic table do you find ALL of these elements on?

BIG IDEA #2: When a _____________________________ and another

_____________________ come together, they make a COVALENT BOND.

Model 2: Properties of Ionic and Covalent Compounds

BACKGROUND- read and annotate and answer the pre-lab questions

Chemical compounds are combinations of atoms held together by chemical bonds. These chemical
bonds are of two basic types—ionic and covalent. Ionic bonds result when one or more electrons
from one atom or group of atoms is transferred to another atom. Positive and negative ions are
created through the transfer. In covalent compounds no electrons are transferred; instead electrons
are shared by the bonded atoms.

The physical properties of a substance, such as melting point, solubility, and conductivity, can be
used to predict the type of bond that binds the atoms of the compound. In this experiment, you will
test three compounds to determine these properties. Your compiled data will enable you to classify
the substances as either ionic or covalent compounds.

The different forces within these substances that you will test account for the many physical
properties of ionic and covalent compounds such as solubility, melting point, and ability to conduct an
electric current.

Melting -- Many substances remain in a solid state at room temperature. In order to melt an
ionic compound, it is necessary to break ionic bonds. Therefore, ionic compounds usually have high
melting points. To melt a covalent compound, it isn’t necessary to break bonds. It is only necessary
to overcome the much weaker intermolecular forces that hold the particles together.

Solubility – Solubility is a complex phenomenon. For the purposes of this lab it is necessary to
understand the golden rule of solubility “like dissolves like.” What this means is that a solvent (the
dissolving medium in a solution) will dissolve a solute (a substance that is dissolved into a liquid) that
is similar in structure. More specifically a polar solvent will dissolve a polar solute and a non polar
solvent will dissolve a nonpolar solute. Ionic compounds are compounds with extreme polarity.
Ionic compounds tend to be soluble (or dissolve in) water because water is a polar compound that
can exert enough force to overcome the ionic bond and cause the ions to go into solution. In general
covalent compounds are less soluble in water. The tendency of compounds to dissociate or ionize
in water tells a great deal about the way in which bonds hold the compound itself together.
Conductivity – A substance that conducts electricity when it is dissolved in water is referred to
as an electrolyte. If a compound is ionic, then when it dissolves in water it will form ions which will
allow electric current to flow through the solution. One way to assess the dissociation tendency
of a compound in water is to test for the solutions ability to conduct electricity. If an aqueous solution
of the compound does not conduct, it is called a non-electrolyte. If there is conduction in an aqueous
solution, the compound is called an electrolyte. Charged particles must be present and free to move
in order for an electric current to flow. The amount of conduction by the solution gives an indication of
the compound’s ionic character. Indeed, conduction or non-conduction by the solution gives an
indication of the bond type that exists in the compound.

The physical properties of a substance can be used to predict the type of bond that binds the atoms
of the compound. In this experiment, you will test six compounds to determine these properties. Your
compiled data will enable you to classify the substances as either ionic or covalent compounds.

Pre-Lab Questions
1. How are ionic bonds formed? What types of elements make up ionic compounds?

2. How are covalent bonds formed? What types of elements make up covalent compounds?

3. What does melting point mean? How can you test for a melting point?

4. What does solubility mean? How can you test a substance’s solubility?

5. What does electrical conductivity mean (hint: think about what the words mean)? How would
you test for conductivity?

Safety precautions:
 Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
 Do not touch any chemicals.
 Do not heat glassware that is broken, chipped, or cracked. When using a flame, confine
long hair and loose clothing.

 Aluminum foil square  KI (potassium iodide)  Conductivity tester
 Distilled Water  C12H22O11 (sucrose)  Safety Goggles
 Ethanol (CH3CH2OH)  NaCl (sodium chloride)
1. Put on safety goggles.

Test #1: Melting Point Test:

2. Before you begin, write a brief description of each of the three substances in Table 1.

3. Label your piece of aluminum foil with each of the substances to help you keep track of each
4. Place a folded square of aluminum foil on a hot plate.

5. Place a few crystals of sucrose, sodium chloride, and potassium iodide in separate locations on
the square of aluminum foil. Do not allow the samples of crystals to touch.

5. For this experiment, it is not necessary to have exact values for the melting point. The foil will
continue to get hotter as it is heated, so the order of melting will give relative melting points. Note
the substance that melts first by writing a 1 in Table 1. Record the order of melting for the other

6. *After 2 min, record an n in Table 1 for each substance that did not melt. Allow the foil to cool
completely before removing.

7. Once the foil is cool, throw it away in trash.


8. Put a few crystals (2-3) of each of the white solids in separate test tubes. Fill the test tube 2/3 full
of water (tap or distilled). Cover the top with your thumb and shake the test tube. Record the
solubility of each substance in Table 1 as soluble or non-soluble in water. Rinse your thumb.
Wash the test tubes with water and a test tube brush.

9. Repeat step 7 but fill with ethanol instead of water. Record the solubility of each substance in
Table 1 as soluble or non-soluble in ethanol. Rinse your thumb.

10. Clean the test tubes by rinsing it with water into the sink.

Test #3 Conductivity Test:

11. Test the conductivity of each water solution made by dipping both electrodes into the beaker of
each solution. Be sure to rinse the electrodes and dry them with a paper towel after each test. If
the bulb of the conductivity apparatus lights up, the solution conducts electric current. Record your
results in Table 1.

**Consider putting a symbol such as +, ++, +++ to represent the brightness of the bulb if it conducts.
If the substance does not conduct electricity, then write “does not conduct.”

*Melting Solubility in Solubility in

Compound Description point H2O Ethanol **Conductivity

Sodium chloride


1. Inferring Conclusions Which substances were ionic compounds and which were covalent
i. Ionic

ii. Covalent:

2. Relating Ideas Write a statement to summarize the properties of ionic compounds and another
statement to summarize the properties of covalent compounds.
i. Ionic:

ii. Covalent:
3. Summarizing Ideas: Fill in the following table comparing ionic compounds and covalent
molecules in each of the four categories.
Type of
Solubility in
Melting Point Conductivity Elements
(High or low) (yes or no) (metals and
(yes or no)

Model 3: Determining Type of Bonds (Electronegativity)

Ionic or Covalent? Bonding between atoms of different elements is rarely purely ionic or purely
covalent. It usually falls somewhere between these two extremes, depending on how strongly the
atoms of each element attract electrons. Recall that electronegativity is a measure of an atom’s
ability to attract electrons. The degree to which bonding between atoms of two elements is ionic or
covalent can be estimated by calculating the difference in the elements’ electronegativities

For example, the electronegativity difference between fluorine, F, and cesium, Cs, is 4.0 - 0.7 = 3.3.
(See Figure 1 below for a periodic table of electronegativity values.) So, according to Figure 2
below, cesium-fluorine bonding is ionic.

Figure 1: Electronegativity

Figure 2: Electronegativity
Difference and Bond Type

Electronegatvity Difference(∆EN) Most Probable type of Bond

0.0 – 0.4 Nonpolar covalent
0.4 – 1.0 Moderately Polar
1.0 – 2.0 Very Polar Covalent
≥ 2.0 Ionic
∆EN is the difference in electronegativity (absolute) between the two elements
Critical Thinking Questions:

5. Suppose that a free electron was placed between each of the following sets of atoms. Predict the
outcome of each contest by matching each set of atoms with a description.
F with F __________ One atom attracts the electron strongly and pulls the electron towards itself.

Li with O ___________ Both atoms attract the electron strongly. The electron stays between the atom.

6. Use figure 1 to calculate the ∆EN for each pair of elements, use figure 2 to state what type of
bond the compounds have, and use the periodic table to state what type of elements they are.

Type of Elements
∆EN Type of Bond (metal, non-metal,
(use figure 1) (use figure 2 and ∆EN) metalloid)

K and Cl
H and Br

Cl and F

Br and Br

Model 4: Metallic Bonding

Do metals tend to have high or low electronegativities? (Look back at Figure 1 if you need to)

What does this mean about how metals hold on to their electrons?

So, what does this mean for how metals bond together?

We know that something must be holding the metal atoms together since they are (mostly) solids at
room temperature. It is a type of bonding called metallic bonding. Without metallic bonding, metal
atoms would remain as separate, individual atoms, like the Noble gases.

Metallic bonding is defined as the force of attraction between atoms of the SAME metal due to
pooling of their valence electrons to form a delocalized “sea” of electrons.
As you stated above, metals have low electronegativity, so their valence electrons are only loosely
held to the nucleus, making them relatively free to move.

In metallic bonding, the positive metal cations are packed closely together, something like marbles in
a box. The valence electrons are not associated with a single atom, but are “delocalized” and free to
move from atom to atom. That is, the positive metal ions are surrounded by a “sea” or “cloud” of
delocalized electrons. This is called the “free-electron” or “electron sea” model of metallic bonding.
This model explains many of the observed properties of metals. Match each explanation of what’s
happening inside the metallic bond to the metallic property it makes possible.
a. Malleable & ductile b. Conductors of heat c. Electrical conductor d. Lustrous

______ 1. When light hits the surface of a metal, the free valence electrons on the surface absorb
and then re-emit the light energy
______ 2. When an electric current (a stream of electrons) is passed through a metal, the electrons
are free to move from metal ion to metal ion.
______ 3. When a piece of metal is hammered or stretched, the atoms slide or roll past one another.
The metal atoms rearrange themselves within the “electron sea” to assume the new shape without
breaking their metallic bonds.
______ 4. If energy is added to a metal, the metal ions and electrons move faster. As these particles
vibrate and move, they collide with their neighbors, which transmits the heat through the piece of

It is important to note that this type of bonding is only happening between atoms of the same type of

An alloy is a mixture of a metal with one or more other elements. The other elements may be metals,
nonmetals, or both. An alloy is a solid solution. It is formed by melting a metal and dissolving the
other elements in it. The molten solution is then allowed to cool and harden. Several other examples
of alloys and their uses are shown in the figure below .

1. Suggest a type of compound which would have the following characteristic

a) conducts electricity in the solid state

b) has a high melting point and is brittle

c) has a low melting point

d) conducts electricity in the molten state

e) does not conduct electricity

2. Based on your knowledge of how each type of bond is formed, match the type of bond with the
model representing a compound with that type of bond. Justify your answers.

__________ __________ _________

3. Based on what you just learned, put the following into the chart as either IONIC or COVALENT

KCl Rb2S Cd3Mg Cl2 PH3 Zn CH3Cl SO2 MgCl2

Fe2O3 Na NaBr CaF2 Mg SCl6 N2O5 CuF2 CS2