College Chemistry : Ionic Bonds

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for College Chemistry

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Introductory Topics

In an ionic bond, electrons are __________

Possible Answers:

shared 

repelled

excited

destroyed

transferred

Correct answer:

transferred

Explanation:

In an ionic bond, electrons are transferred to make a compound. For example, a sodium atom and a chloride atom can combine, exchanging electrons to form:  and  in solution, or  (sodium chloride/table salt). Electrons are shared only in covalent bonds. Electrons can be repelled if two (or more) electrons are within very close proximity of one another. Electrons can be excited by absorbing energy and then subsequently jumping from the ground state to a higher, less stable state. Electrons may never be destroyed and/or created.

Example Question #2 : Introductory Topics

Which of these can be formed when ionic bonds break down?

Possible Answers:

None of these; ionic bonds never break down.

Cation

Lattice structure

Micelle

Correct answer:

Cation

Explanation:

Ionic bonds are bonds involving the attraction between oppositely-charged ions. An example of an ionic compound is , or table salt. The sodium is positively-charged, while the chlorine is negatively-charged. These opposite charges attract via an ionic bond to form the ionic compound . When this ionic bond breaks, the sodium and chlorine separate into ions:  (the positively-charged cation) and  (the negatively-charged anion).

Ionic compounds have a characteristic lattice structure--that is, the arrangement of ions in a regular, geometric pattern. In the case of , this structure simply refers to the arrangement of  and  ions in a pattern to form . It forms when an ionic compound is being created, not broken down.

Lastly, micelles are lipid molecules which, in aqueous solution, arrange themselves in a spherical form. This is a response to the fact that fatty acids have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions (they are amphipathic). It has nothing to do with ionic bonds.

Example Question #3 : Introductory Topics

What is the molecular formula for aluminum sulfide?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Sulfur is much more electronegative than Aluminum (a metal), so when they bond they form an ionic compound as Aluminum transfers its electrons to Sulfur. Aluminum has a valence of 3, meaning that each Aluminum atom is looking to share or transfer 3 electrons to achieve a stable configuration. Sulfur has a valence of 6, meaning that each Sulfur atom is looking for two electrons to complete its octet. Thus, two Aluminum atoms will bond with three Sulfur atoms, resulting in the transfer of six electrons in total.

Example Question #4 : Introductory Topics

What is the charge on the cation in the ionic compound sodium oxide?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

When sodium and oxygen form the ionic compound sodium oxide, , each sodium ion transfers an electron to the central oxygen atom. Thus, each sodium atom becomes a positive ion (or cation) with a charge of +1.

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