How does the structure of ionic bonds affect the structure of the ionic compound?

1 Answer
Aug 25, 2017


Ionic bonds enforce #"non-molecularity....."#


In a simple binary ionic salt, #MX#, each individual #M^+# cation is electrostatically bound to EVERY OTHER #X^-# anion in the lattice. Of course, it is also electrostatically REPELLED by every other #M^+# in the lattice, but if you sum up attractive versus repulsive electrostatic interactions across the entire lattice, which can certainly be done quantitatively, a net attractive force results that binds the lattice together.

The result? Ionic solids TEND to be high-melting, non-molecular materials, which display (some) solubility in polar solvents that are capable of separating positive and negative charge.

On a microscopic level, the structure of ionic compounds are highly ordered, and feature interpenetrating arrays of cations and anions that are close-packed together.