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Chemistry LibreTexts

4: Ionic Bonding and Simple Ionic Compounds

There are only 118 known chemical elements but tens of millions of known chemical compounds. Compounds can be very complex combinations of atoms, but many important compounds are fairly simple. Table salt, as we have seen, consists of only two elements: sodium and chlorine. Nevertheless, the compound has properties completely different from either elemental sodium (a chemically reactive metal) or elemental chlorine (a poisonous, green gas). We will see additional examples of such differences in this chapter and Chapter 4, as we consider how atoms combine to form compounds.