Understand Ionic Bonds

In this worksheet, students will learn about the formation of ionic bonds.

QUESTION 1 of 10

Atoms are picky – they only like to react in the way that they want to. If you don’t give them the right type of partner, then you’re not going to get a reaction out of them. They are like this because they have one aim in their strange world – they want to have a full shell of electrons! It’s like a drug to them, they just need it, and they are going to get it.

They do this in two main ways, Ionic and Covalent Bonding. We will be looking at how ionic bonding works here, and you will need the periodic table with numbers to be able to do this.

Ionic bonding

The atoms of the rest of the elements on the periodic table try to stabilise by filling their outer shell with some more electrons, or by getting rid of some extra ones. They get their electrons when they combine with other atoms of elements that need to get rid of some. When an atom loses electrons (which carry a negative charge), it becomes a positive ion. The atom receiving the electrons becomes a negative ion. The more electrons an atom receives, the bigger the negative charge and the more it loses, the bigger the positive charge.

Metals generally gain electrons because they have spaces in their outer shell that need to be filled, whereas non-metals give their spare electrons to metals. Positive and negative ions attract one another so the compound forms. Metal ions attract a number of other ions and form lattices. The diagram below shows the ionic bond between sodium and chlorine when they form sodium chloride.

So, you need to be able to do this yourself – here are some step by step instructions to help you if you are ever confronted by a scary ionic bonding question.

In this example we will be using Sodium Chloride (Like the example above) – you might want a piece of paper to do this by yourself at home.

Q – Draw the ionic bonding for NaCl

Step 1: There is 1 Na and 1 Cl atom in this compound.

Step 2: Draw out the Na and Cl atoms. Make sure one is dots and one is crosses.

Step 3: Work out how many electrons each needs to gain/lose to make a full outer shell. Na needs to lose 1 and Cl needs to gain 1

Step 4: Draw them out again (yes draw them out again, I wasn’t joking), this time with the moved electrons.

Step 5: Put them in square brackets. They get a + if they have lost an electron and a – if they have gained an electron. It is the opposite of what you think!

If you follow these steps then you will be an ionic bonding king!

What do all atoms try to do?

get more electrons

lose electrons

form a full outer shell

Which gases are very stable on their own, and are consequently less reactive?

noble

nable

aristocratic

What is the name of the bonding that involves moving electrons?

covalent

ionic

metalic

Will an atom of Beryllium gain or lose electrons, and how many?

Gain 1

Gain 2

Gain 3

Loose 1

Loose 2

Loose 3

What is the charge of electrons?

neutral

positive

negative

What happens to an atom when it gains electrons?

it becomes neutral

it becomes a positive ion

it becomes a negative ion

What happens to an atom when it loses electrons?

it becomes neutral

it becomes a positive ion

it becomes a negative ion

How will the electrons move in the bonding of BeO?

Beryllium gains 2 electrons and oxygen looses 2

Beryllium looses 2 electrons and oxygen looses 2

Beryllium looses 2 electrons and oxygen gains 2

Beryllium looses 2 electrons and oxygen looses 1

What is the charge of each of the atoms?

Lithium is +1 and Oxygen is -2

Lithium is +2 and Oxygen is -2

Lithium is -1 and Oxygen is +2

Lithium is -2 and Oxygen is +2

Why do the electrons move in covalent bonding?

• Question 1

What do all atoms try to do?

form a full outer shell
EDDIE SAYS
The most stable form of an atom is when it has a full outer shell - this can be achieved by gaining or losing electrons.
• Question 2

Which gases are very stable on their own, and are consequently less reactive?

noble
EDDIE SAYS
Noble gases have complete outer shells and so are very stable.
• Question 3

What is the name of the bonding that involves moving electrons?

ionic
EDDIE SAYS
Ionic bonding is moving electrons from one atom to another.
• Question 4

Will an atom of Beryllium gain or lose electrons, and how many?

Loose 2
EDDIE SAYS
Beryllium has 4 electrons - 2 for the first shell and 2 in the second. It is easier to lose 2 electrons than to gain 6 electrons. So, it will lose 2 electrons.
• Question 5

What is the charge of electrons?

negative
EDDIE SAYS
Electrons have a negative charge.
• Question 6

What happens to an atom when it gains electrons?

it becomes a negative ion
EDDIE SAYS
It becomes a negative ion, as electrons carry a negative charge. If you have more negatives then you become a negative charge.
• Question 7

What happens to an atom when it loses electrons?

it becomes a positive ion
EDDIE SAYS
It becomes a positive ion, as it loses the electrons that carry a negative charge. Less negative makes something positive!
• Question 8

How will the electrons move in the bonding of BeO?

Beryllium looses 2 electrons and oxygen gains 2
EDDIE SAYS
Beryllium has 4 electrons, so 2 in its outside shell. This means that it will lose 2 electrons. Oxygen has 8 electrons, so 6 in it'#s outside shell and so it wants to gain 2 electrons.
• Question 9

What is the charge of each of the atoms?

Lithium is +1 and Oxygen is -2
EDDIE SAYS
When you gain electrons, you become negative and when you lose electrons you become positive. Remember, it is the OPPOSITE of what you think. Because each lithium loses one electron, the charge they have is +1. We talk about the change on each atom, not the total charge of all of the atoms.
• Question 10

Why do the electrons move in covalent bonding?

To create a full outer shell.
EDDIE SAYS
In every type of fo bonding, we are looking to make a full outer shell - that is the most important part of the bonding. Remember, look for how the electrons are gonig to move to get a full outer shell.
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