CIE AS Chemistry (9701) exams from 2022

Revision Notes

1.3.4 Ionic Bonding

Ionic Bonding: Definition

  • As a general rule, metals are on the left of the Periodic Table and nonmetals are on the right-hand side
  • Ionic bonds involve the transfer of electrons from a metallic element to a non-metallic element
  • Transferring electrons usually leaves the metal and the non-metal with a full outer shell
  • Metals lose electrons from their valence shell forming positively charged cations
  • Non-metal atoms gain electrons forming negatively charged anions
  • Once the atoms become ions, their electronic configurations are the same as a stable noble gas.
    • A potassium ion (K+) has the same electronic configuration as argon: [2,8,8]+
    • A chloride ion (Cl) also has the same electronic configuration as argon: [2,8,8]

Chemical Bonding Metals forming Cations, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Forming cations by the removal of electrons from metals

Chemical Bonding Non-metals Forming Anions, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Forming anions by the addition of electrons to nonmetals

  • Cations and anions are oppositely charged and therefore attracted to each other
  • Electrostatic attractions are formed between the oppositely charged ions to form ionic compounds
  • This form of attraction is very strong and requires a lot of energy to overcome
    • This causes high melting points in ionic compounds


Chemical Bonding Forming Ionic Compounds, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Cations and anions bond together using strong electrostatic forces, which require a lot of energy to overcome

  • The ions form a lattice structure which is an evenly distributed crystalline structure
  • Ions in a lattice are arranged in a regular repeating pattern so that positive charges cancel out negative charges
  • Therefore the final lattice is overall electrically neutral


Chemical Bonding Ionic Lattice, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Ionic solids are arranged in lattice structures

Exam Tip

Metals usually lose all electrons from their outer valence shell to become cations.

You can make use of the groups on the Periodic Table to work out how many electrons an atom is likely to lose or gain by looking at the Group an atom belongs to.

Author: Francesca

Fran has taught A level Chemistry in the UK for over 10 years. As head of science, she used her passion for education to drive improvement for staff and students, supporting them to achieve their full potential. Fran has also co-written science textbooks and worked as an examiner for UK exam boards.

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