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3: Ionic Compounds

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  • When you think of bonding, you may not think of ions or molecules. Like most of us, you probably think of bonding between people. Like people, molecules bond — and some bonds are stronger than others. It's hard to break up a mother and baby, or a molecule made up of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms! A chemical bond is a force of attraction between atoms or ions. Bonds form when atoms share or transfer valence electrons. Valence electrons are the electrons in the outer energy level of an atom that may be involved in chemical interactions. Valence electrons are the basis of all chemical bonds.

    Thumbnail: The crystal structure of sodium chloride, NaCl, a typical ionic compound. The purple spheres represent sodium cations, \(\ce{Na^{+}}\), and the green spheres represent chloride anions, \(\ce{Cl^{−}}\). (Public Domain; Benjah-bmm27 via Wikipedia)

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