Ionic Bonds

Ionic bonds form between ions! More realistically elements form ions through bonding.

Givers and Takers

Ionic bonds occur when elements with drastically different electronegativity values transfer their electrons to their bonding partner. In the process, a cation and an anion are generated and the opposite charges generate a strong attractive force that holds the two elements together.

In order for this to occur an ionic bond needs an electron giver and an electron taker. As already discussed this means opposing electronegativity values and therefore opposite sides of the periodic table. The most characteristic compounds are those formed between the halogens and the alkali and alkaline earth metals.

With the alkali metals (Li, Na, K, etc.) they will give up an electron to a halogen (F, Br, I, Cl, etc.) allowing both to obtain a noble gas configuration. Whereas an alkaline earth metal (Sr, Be, Ca, etc.) will give up two electrons to two halogen atoms again allowing both to obtain a noble gas configuration.

Crystalline Lattices

Governed by electrostatic interactions ionic bonds form complex crystal structures known as lattices. Where cations and anions repeat in rows. Although these crystal lattices are technically stronger than covalent bonds it is hard to compare them apples to apples. Despite this strength, ionic bonds are extremely prone to solvation, which is a fancy of saying they break apart in water. As we will see later this occurs because ionic bonds and water are both polar which means they can interact with one another easily.