An ionic bond is a strong mutual attraction of oppositely charged ions. Such bonds do not usually form by the direct transfer of an electron from one atom to another; rather atoms that have already become ions stay close together because of their opposite charges.
Ions may consist of single atom or multiple atoms, in which a group of atoms is called a "polyatomic ion". Examples of polyatomic anions include: carbonate ion, which is composed of carbon and oxygen; and sulfate ion, which is composed of sulfur and oxygen. An example of a polyatomic cation is ammonium ion, which consists of nitrogen and hydrogen. Cation are usually metal atoms and anions are either nonmetals or polyatomic ions. The attraction of the two charges holds the atoms or molecules together. Electrostatic forces hold ionic bonds together.
Ionic bond is defined as
"An ionic bond is the force of attraction between oppositely charged ions in a compound."
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Hot sodium metal reacts with chlorine gas, Cl2 to produce a white solid. The white solid is the compound sodium chloride. In these reaction, the sodium atom loses an electron to become a sodium ion, Na+. The electron is taken by a chlorine atom to become a chloride ion, Cl-. There is a transfer of an electron from the sodium atom to chlorine atom.
The positive sodium ion Na+ and the negative chloride ion Cl- are attracted by an electrostatic force. This force of attraction is very strong and it is the ionic bond.
Magnesium fluoride MgF2 is an ionic compound. The magnesium atom gives up two electrons to form a magnesium ion Mg2+. The two electrons are transferred to two fluorine atoms to form two fluoride ions F-. The magnesium fluoride has the formula MgF2. Each unit of magnesium fluoride consists of one magnesium ion and two fluoride ions.
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