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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).
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
and the blue balls may represent Cl- ions.
solids have a similar
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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