Atomic Structure

 What is the Structure of an Ionic Compound?

 What is a Crystal?

Below is a picture of a small piece of a giant ionic structure.
It forms a crystal. It is also called a giant ionic lattice.
The word "giant" means that a huge number of particles
are present (compare this with the word simple).
A giant ionic structure is made from a huge number of ions.

In the picture below the red balls are positive ions and the
blue balls are negative ions. The electrostatic attraction
between the oppositely charged ions is called an ionic bond
(compare this with a covalent bond).

Ionic Giant Structure
The structure extends (repeats itself) in all directions
giving a crystal with a regular arrangement of ions called
a lattice. The crystal is said to be highly ordered.

For sodium chloride the red balls may represent Na+ ions
and the blue balls may represent Cl- ions.

All ionic solids have a similar structure
to that shown above but they may not be identical.
Differences of packing and the relative size and
amounts of ions will give different crystal variations.


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