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www.scilinks.org Topic: Covalent and Ionic Bonds Keyword: HM60362

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Ionic Bonds

In Figure 2-4, step Q, both sodium and chlorine atoms have unfilled outermost energy levels and are therefore reactive. Both atoms achieve stability in the presence of one another. The one outer electron (e") of a sodium atom is transferred to a chlorine atom. This transfer makes both atoms more stable than they were before. The orbitals that correspond to the sodium atom's new outermost energy level are filled with eight electrons. But it also results in a sodium atom with a net positive electrical charge. The sodium atom has 11 protons (11 positive charges) balanced by only 10 electrons (10 negative charges). An atom or molecule with an electrical charge is called an ion. The sodium ion is written as Na+.

Chlorine, in step ©, gained an electron from a sodium atom. The chlorine atom now has eight electrons in its orbitals that correspond to its outermost energy level. This makes the chlorine atom more stable. With this additional electron, chlorine becomes a negatively charged ion which is abbreviated as Cl".

Because positive and negative electrical charges attract each other, the sodium ion and the chloride ion attract each other. This attraction is called an ionic bond. The resulting compound, sodium chloride, NaCl, shown in step Q, is an ionic compound and is familiar to you as common table salt.

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