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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.


  • Step 1: Vaporize Vaporize the atoms of a cation-forming element to form a gas.
  • TIP: Cations are usually derived from metal atoms like sodium.
  • Step 2: Dissociate Dissociate anion-forming molecules into atoms.
  • TIP: Anions are derived either from nonmetals or polyatomic compounds like chlorine molecules.
  • Step 3: Ionize Ionize the cation-forming atoms. With ionization, sodium becomes a positively-charged sodium ion.
  • Step 4: Transfer Transfer the liberated electrons to the anion-forming atoms. The chlorine atom becomes a negatively charged chlorine ion in this way.
  • Step 5: Combine Combine the cations and anions in a regular manner to form a crystal. Electrostatic interaction holds the crystal lattice together.
  • FACT: Atoms in ionic compounds combine so that they have eight electrons in their outer electron shells.

You Will Need

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

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