Lonic vs. Molecular Compounds

Difference Between Lonic and Molecular Compounds

Chemical compounds are formed when chemical elements are combined together. They are combined with the help of chemical bonds having covalent or ionic characteristics. Molecular compounds have covalent bonds while ionic compounds have ionic bonds. A compound has a defined ratio of atoms which are represented by the chemical formula.

Ionic Compounds

When positive ion (cations) and negative ions (anions) are attracted, they form ionic compounds. Since anions and cations have opposite charges, they are contracted with electrostatic forces to make ionic bonds. Usually metal atoms form cations while nonmetal atoms form anions. Ionic compounds are crystal. For example sodium chloride is an ionic compound. Sodium forms a +1 charged cation as it is group 1 metal. Chlorine on the other hand, is nonmetal and can form a -1 charged anion. Sodium chloride is represented as NaCl which has a lattice structure in which each chloride ion is surrounded by six sodium ions while each sodium ion is surrounded by six chloride ions.

Molecular Compounds

Uncharged atoms form Molecular compounds. These atoms combined by chemical bonds. Nonmetals form compounds. Their molecules are formed when the same kind of atoms are joined with a covalent bond like O2, H2 etc. Compounds may by very small as well as macromolecules like Protein and DNA. Two molecular crystals of carbon form graphite and diamond. A molecular formula indicates the exact number of atoms in a molecule. The attraction force among molecules is normally weak.


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