Bonding - Ionic

The properties of a substance depend on what atoms are present and how those atoms are bonded (held together). For GCSE Chemistry, you need to know about three types of chemical bonding - ionic, covalent and metallic. This quiz is all about ionic bonding which combines metal and non-metal atoms and produces materials with high melting and boiling points which are usually soluble in water and made from giant lattices of ions that will conduct electricity if they are molten or dissolved in water.

Ionic bonding is the type of bonding that occurs when metals combine with non-metals. During this type of bonding, electrons are transferred from metal atoms to non-metal atoms to form compounds. The metal atoms form positive ions and the non-metal atoms form negative ions. It is only the outermost electrons that are involved so it is important that you are confident working out the electron arrangement of the first twenty elements.

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A compound that contains only one type of metal bonded to one type of non-metal is known as binary compound. For the exam, if you are asked to illustrate how ionic bonding works, you will only be asked to display your knowledge of this type of compound but be prepared for the examiners to ask about metals or non-metals that you may not have dealt with in lessons. If they do, you will be given the appropriate information that will enable you to apply your understanding. Stay calm and remember the basics.

Some of the ions involved in ionic bonding contain more than one element and are therefore called compound ions. These are exclusively made from non-metals e.g. SO42- (the sulphate ion) or NO3- (nitrate ion). You don't need to know how or why they are formed, but you do need to know how they react and use that understanding to write the names and formulae of the new substances that are formed if you are studying for the higher tier. At GCSE, there is only one compound ion with a positive charge - the ammonium ion (NH4+).

Ions have a small positive or negative electrostatic charge and it is these opposite charges attracting one another that holds the ions together to form a giant lattice. If sufficient numbers of ions are present, you see this lattice as a crystal, the shape of which depends on how the ions pack together.

Pure water is an insulator but will conduct electricity when it contains ions. This is because many ionic lattices come apart when the compound is added to water. The ions are free to move around and can move towards any electrodes that are placed in the water.

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  1. Pick the correct combination for the properties of ionic compounds.
    This is because ionic compounds are normally formed from giant lattices of ions
  2. Ionic bonding usually occurs between what type of atoms?
    Two metals joining together form an alloy with metallic bonding, two non-metals will form covalent bonds and, at GCSE level, noble gases are regarded as being inert
  3. When a metal atom becomes a metal ion...
    Metal atoms lose electrons so there are more protons than electrons resulting in an overall positive charge on the newly formed ion
  4. When a non-metal atom becomes a non-metal ion...
    Non-metal atoms gain electrons so there are more electrons than protons resulting in an overall negative charge on the newly formed ion
  5. How many ionic bonds are formed when sodium bonds with chlorine?
    One sodium ion combines with one chloride ion to become sodium chloride because only one electron is transferred
  6. How are electrons involved in ionic bonding?
    Electrons are transferred between the atoms
  7. How many ionic bonds are formed when magnesium combines with chlorine?
    Magnesium has 2 outermost electrons, but chlorine atoms can only gain one electron during ionic bonding. The magnesium atom can therefore transfer electrons to two chlorine atoms i.e. two ionic bonds
  8. When an atom loses or gains electrons, it becomes...
    In an atom, the number of protons equals the number of electrons so the charges are balanced. When electrons are lost or gained, this is no longer the case
  9. The ionic bonds that exist between charged particles result in an arrangement that is called...
    There are no limits to the size of a giant ionic lattice other than the number of ions available
  10. What happens to the electron configuration of the atoms?
    If sodium 2,8,1 loses an electron in an ionic bond, its configuration becomes 2,8 which is the same as neon. Elements that have full outer shells of electrons are stable

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