What happens to electrons when an ionic bond forms?

1 Answer
Mar 14, 2018

It is the prior distribution of electrons that constitutes the electrostatic force of interaction....


Commonly, ions are formed by (i) the loss of electrons from metals...electron rich materials from the left of the Periodic Table as we face the Table, whose valence electrons are furthest removed from the positively charged nuclear core..., and (ii) the gain of electrons by non-metals to the right of the Periodic Table as we face it.

We could represent these redox processes by the reactions...

#underbrace(M rarr M^(n+) +"n"e^(-))_"oxidation"#

#underbrace(X +e^(-)rarr X^(-) )_"reduction"#

We add the two redox processes together in such a way that the electrons are eliminated as virtual particles, and we get a neutral salt....of a metal and a non-metal...that are held together by a strong electrostatic force of attraction...


And thus the electrons are formally redistributed to give positive and negative ions that combine to form NEUTRAL SALTS.