The crystal lattice structure of ionic compounds is responsible for which set of characteristic properties?

1 Answer
Jul 13, 2016

They are brittle, generally have high melting/boiling points, non-conductive as solids. Will conduct if molten or when dissolved in water.


  • Brittle - Crystals tend to shatter when a force is applied. The force causes movement of ions in the lattice and ions of "like charge" (the same charge) align and the force of repulsion causes the crystal to split.

  • High melting/boiling points - The forces of attraction between oppositely charged ions in the lattice are strong and require a large amount of heat energy to break. Generally the higher the charge on the ions the higher the melting and boiling points due to increased attraction between the ions.

  • Conductivity - depends on whether the ions are free to move and carry a charge. In solids the ions are firmly held within the lattice and so cannot move. If the ionic compound is molten (in a liquid state) or dissolved in water (aqueous solution) the ions can move.

  • Solubility - an ionic compound will be soluble in water if the forces of attraction between the polar water molecules and the ions in the lattice are greater than the forces of attraction between the ions.