Ionic vs. Covalent Bonding
Compounds form when elements bond chemically. There are two main types of chemical bonds: covalent and ionic (electrovalent).
So what's the difference?
- Covalent bonds form when two or more atoms share valence electrons.
- Ionic bonds form when one atom donates or transfers valence electrons to another atom.
These two videos (though a bit long) do a nice job of explaining the basics of ionic and covalent bonds.
Bonding, Part 1 of 2 (Ionic Bonding)
Bonding, Part 2 of 2 (Covalent Bonding)
How can you tell which type of bond will form?
Use your Periodic Table to determine whether an element is a metal or a non-metal and how many valence electrons it has to help determine if it will bond by transferring (ionic/electrovalent) or sharing (covalent) valence electrons.
In general, compounds formed between a metal and a non-metal will contain ionic bonds. Using the Periodic Table above that means any compound that contains an element shown in orange will contain ionic (electrovalent) bonds.
Compounds that form between two non-metals (or between non-metals and metalloids) will contain covalent bonds. Using the Periodic Table above that means any compound that contains element shown in yellow or green will contain covalent bonds.
How much do you need to know about bonding?
- Compare and contrast ionic bonds vs. covalent bonds.
- Be able to use the Periodic Table to predict whether an element is more likely to bond ionically or covalently.