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As all substances must be electrically neutral, the total number of positive charges on the cations of an ionic compound must equal the total number of negative charges on its anions. The formula of an ionic compound represents the simplest ratio of the numbers of ions necessary to give identical numbers of positive and negative charges. For example, the formula for aluminum oxide, Al 2 O 3 , indicates that this ionic compound contains two aluminum cations, Al 3+ , for every three oxide anions, O 2− [thus, (2 × +3) + (3 × –2) = 0].

It is important to note, however, that the formula for an ionic compound does not represent the physical arrangement of its ions. It is incorrect to refer to a sodium chloride (NaCl) “molecule” because there is not a single ionic bond, per se, between any specific pair of sodium and chloride ions. The attractive forces between ions are isotropic—the same in all directions—meaning that any particular ion is equally attracted to all of the nearby ions of opposite charge. This results in the ions arranging themselves into a tightly bound, three-dimensional lattice structure. Sodium chloride, for example, consists of a regular arrangement of equal numbers of Na + cations and Cl anions ( [link] ).

Two diagrams are shown and labeled “a” and “b.” Diagram a shows a cube made up of twenty-seven alternating purple and green spheres. The purple spheres are smaller than the green spheres. Diagram b shows the same spheres, but this time, they are spread out and connected in three dimensions by white rods. The purple spheres are labeled “N superscript postive sign” while the green are labeled “C l superscript negative sign.”
The atoms in sodium chloride (common table salt) are arranged to (a) maximize opposite charges interacting. The smaller spheres represent sodium ions, the larger ones represent chloride ions. In the expanded view (b), the geometry can be seen more clearly. Note that each ion is “bonded” to all of the surrounding ions—six in this case.

The strong electrostatic attraction between Na + and Cl ions holds them tightly together in solid NaCl. It requires 769 kJ of energy to dissociate one mole of solid NaCl into separate gaseous Na + and Cl ions:

NaCl ( s ) Na + ( g ) + Cl ( g ) Δ H = 769 kJ

Electronic structures of cations

When forming a cation, an atom of a main group element tends to lose all of its valence electrons, thus assuming the electronic structure of the noble gas that precedes it in the periodic table. For groups 1 (the alkali metals) and 2 (the alkaline earth metals), the group numbers are equal to the numbers of valence shell electrons and, consequently, to the charges of the cations formed from atoms of these elements when all valence shell electrons are removed. For example, calcium is a group 2 element whose neutral atoms have 20 electrons and a ground state electron configuration of 1 s 2 2 s 2 2 p 6 3 s 2 3 p 6 4 s 2 . When a Ca atom loses both of its valence electrons, the result is a cation with 18 electrons, a 2+ charge, and an electron configuration of 1 s 2 2 s 2 2 p 6 3 s 2 3 p 6 . The Ca 2+ ion is therefore isoelectronic with the noble gas Ar.

For groups 12–17, the group numbers exceed the number of valence electrons by 10 (accounting for the possibility of full d subshells in atoms of elements in the fourth and greater periods). Thus, the charge of a cation formed by the loss of all valence electrons is equal to the group number minus 10. For example, aluminum (in group 13) forms 3+ ions (Al 3+ ).

Questions & Answers

explain law of definite proportion
yes same idea
what's kinetic energy
Charity Reply
what is anion?
Hussniz Reply
an anion is a positively charge ion
an anion is a negatively charged ion
And anion is a negatively charged ion which move towards the anode which is positively charged.
what is matter
Henry Reply
what is pressure
what is water?
Scarcies Reply
hydrogen gas burned into oxygen gas which forms a polar molecule, has a defenate shape volume but not shape. at 20 degrees Celsius exists as an aqueous solution. Is a solvent that dissolves many solutes into solution. And can act as an acid or a base.
Obi Reply
by mixing
it is less dense than water
Erastus Reply
can cooking gas be durable in gallon. ..
reason pls
What is happening
Oluchi Reply
Why does ice float on water?
it is less denser than water
and why does a boat don't sink in water
because the boat has a large surface area and the water surface contains molecules that are attracted together by a weak force of attraction
brief the water surface has a wall
As it cools, olive oil slowly soldifies and froms a solid over a range of temperatures. Which best describes the solid?
Tammie Reply
definition of a sample
ashley Reply
a small part or quantity intended to show what the whole is like
What does kj stand for ? or just k. example - 371K
Katr Reply
kilojoules or Kelvin
what is atom
divinegift Reply
atom is anything that has weight and can occupy space
atom is the smallest particle of an element that can neitherbe divided nor destroyed
atom is the smallest indivisible particle of an element.
atom is the smallest particle of an element that can neither be created,subdivided or destroyed
All wrong
Do you know that atoms can further be devided
Go and read 📘 up Dalton atomic theory and who disproved.. Read 📘 up atomic theory
an atom is the smallest particle of an element that can take part in a chemical reaction
what is anion?
what is a structure of atomic
Deren Reply
WATS atomic structure?
what is the meaning of intermolecular force
Eunice Reply
is the force of attraction that exist between two or more molecules
What is a primary standard solution ?
a known solution
Characteristic of a primary standard solution
pauli's exclusion is based on what?
avdhesh Reply
quantum theory
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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