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Chemical bonding and structure

Ionic bonding and structure
Essential idea

Ionic compounds consist of ions held together in

lattice structures by ionic bonds.
Nature of science

2. The understanding of science

2.2. Theories are themselves integrated, comprehensive models of how the
universe, or parts of it, work. A theory can incorporate facts and laws and
tested hypotheses. Predictions can be made from the theories and these can
be tested in experiments or by careful observations. Examples are the germ
theory of disease or atomic theory.

Use theories to explain natural phenomena—molten ionic compounds conduct

electricity but solid ionic compounds do not. The solubility and melting points of ionic
compounds can be used to explain observations.
Aim 3: apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize
science and technology

Use naming conventions to name ionic compounds.

Aim 6: develop experimental and investigative scientific skills including the use of
current technologies

Students could investigate compounds based on their bond type and

properties or obtain sodium chloride by solar evaporation.

Aim 7: develop and apply 21st century communication skills in the study of science

Computer simulation could be used to observe crystal lattice structures.

Learner Profile

Aim 6: Inquirers (Practical Work and Internal Assessment)

Aim 6: Risk – takers

(Practical Work and Internal
Assessment, the group 4 project)
Learner Profile: Aim 3
Aim 7

- Theory of knowledge links

- Practical work and internal assessment
- external assessment
- Practical work and internal assessment

Syllabus and cross-curricular links:

Chemistry Physics
Topic 3.2—periodic trends Physics topic 5.1—electrostatics
Topic 21.1 – Spectroscopic identification of organic compounds
Option A.8—use of X-ray crystallography in structural

• Ionic liquids are efficient solvents and electrolytes used in

electric power sources and green industrial processes.
Covalent compounds = two or more non-metallic elements
ionic compounds = formed between a metallic element and a non-metallic one.

For example, NaCl is an ionic compound but CH4 is covalent.

The number of electrons lost or gained is determined by the
electron configuration of an atom.
That is, electrons are gained or lost to make an ion that
is isoelectronic (same number of electrons) with the nearest noble gas.
The Roman numeral in brackets indicates the oxidation number of the ion, which is the same as its charge.

Iron(III) sulfate, therefore, contains the Fe3+ ion and has the formula Fe2(SO4)3.
Iron(II) sulfate contains the Fe2+ ion and has the formula FeSO4.
Applications and skills

1. Deduction of the formula and name of an ionic compound

from its component ions, including polyatomic ions.

Students should be familiar with the

names of these polyatomic ions: NH4+,
OH-, NO3-, HCO3-, CO32-, SO42- and
If the formula contains more than one polyatomic ion, brackets are used around the ion
before the subscript.
An ionic bond is an electrostatic attraction
between oppositely charged ions.

Ionic lattice = predictable three-dimensional

crystalline structure

coordination number = to express the number of

ions that surround a given ion in the lattice

formula unit (empirical formula) = an expression

of the ratio of ions present.
These electrostatic forces are strong, so it is difficult to break apart the lattice structure.
This is a giant structure – there are no individual molecules of sodium chloride.
Instead, the bonding extends fairly uniformly throughout the whole structure.
Applications and skills

2. Explanation of the physical properties of ionic compounds

(volatility, electrical conductivity and solubility) in terms of
their structure..
due to the strong
forces between
Ionic compounds “usually”: the oppositely
- high melting points and charged ions.
boiling points.

Sodium chloride:
Melting point of 801°C Magnesium oxide > sodium chloride
Boiling point of over 1400°C electrostatic attractions
between the 2+ and 2− ions
magnesium oxide: are much stronger than 1+
Melting point of over 2800°C and 1− ions
Boiling point of about 3600 °C.

- usually solids at room A higher temperature is required to provide sufficient energy to

temperature. separate the ions in magnesium oxide. The force between ions is
proportional to the product of the charges (all other things being equal).
When an ionic solid is melted, the
electrostatic forces throughout the
giant lattice must be broken and,
because these are so strong, a lot of
energy is required.
there are some low-melting-point ionic
compounds, such as ethylammonium nitrate,
that are liquids at room temperature (ionic
Ionic solids have low volatility (refers to how
readily a substance evaporates). The volatility of
ionic substances is low because the electrostatic
forces between the ions are strong.

Our everyday encounter with them as crystalline

solids with low odour is consistent with this.
Ionic substances do not conduct electricity when solid. In
the solid state, the ions are held tightly in position in the
lattice structure so that they are not free to move around
(other than vibrate).

When an ionic substance is melted the ions are able to move

freely throughout the liquid. Positive ions can move towards a
negative electrode and negative ions towards a positive
electrode, so allowing the conduction of electricity.
Aqueous solutions (solutions
made with water) of ionic
substances conduct
electricity. This is because the
ions are free to move around
A water molecule is polar.

A hydrated sodium ion.

A hydrated chloride ion.
Ionic substances are often soluble
in water. Water is a polar solvent,
and energy is released when the
ions are hydrated by being
surrounded (ion-dipole
attractions) by water molecules.

This energy pays back the energy

required to break apart the ionic
Ionic solids are not usually soluble in non-polar solvents such as hexane.
This is because a great deal of energy is required to break apart the ionic
lattice and this is not paid back by the energy released when the nonpolar
solvent forms interactions with the ions (London forces).

Hexane (C6H14)