How to Make Ionic Compounds

Ionic compounds consist of two or more ions held together by electrical attraction. Ions with a positive charge are called cations while ions with a negative charge are called anions.


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You Will Need

  • Cations
  • Anions
  • Energy for dissociation
  • Energy for ionization


  1. Step 1


    Vaporize the atoms of a cation-forming element to form a gas.

  2. Cations are usually derived from metal atoms like sodium.

  3. Step 2


    Dissociate anion-forming molecules into atoms.

  4. Anions are derived either from nonmetals or polyatomic compounds like chlorine molecules.

  5. Step 3


    Ionize the cation-forming atoms. With ionization, sodium becomes a positively-charged sodium ion.

  6. Step 4


    Transfer the liberated electrons to the anion-forming atoms. The chlorine atom becomes a negatively charged chlorine ion in this way.

  7. Step 5


    Combine the cations and anions in a regular manner to form a crystal. Electrostatic interaction holds the crystal lattice together.

  8. Atoms in ionic compounds combine so that they have eight electrons in their outer electron shells.