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Chemical bonding

Bonding is about atoms achieving full outer shells or orbits.

There are three key types of bonding:

  • ionic
  • covalent (including simple covalent structures and giant covalent structures)
  • metallic


The two main types of bonding are ionic bonding and covalent bonding.

Ionic (transfer)

Ionic bonding is the transfer of electrons.

Ionic bonding is the transfer of electrons from one atom to the other

Sodium transfers an electron to chlorine to make a positive sodium ion and a negative chloride ion.

As sodium is positively charged and calcium negative they both attract this is part of ionic bonding

Because they are oppositely charged, the ions are attracted to each other like magnets and an ionic bond is formed.

Through ionic bonding solids are made by lots of atoms attract


Covalent bonding (sharing)

Covalent bonding is the sharing of electrons.

Covalent bonding is the sharing of electrons Hydrogen needs an other electron and oxygen needs 2

Two hydrogen atoms are needed to complete oxygen’s outer shell and form a covalent compound (H2O).

Oxygen shares 2 of its electrons to 2 atoms of hydrogen, meaning the oxygen has the correct number of electrons with the hydrogens bonded, making water

Note for higher tier Chemistry students

Some compounds contain both ionic and covalent bonds such as sodium nitrate NaNO3, sodium hydroxide NaOH and calcium carbonate CaCO3.

Covalent bonded hydroxide is negative and sodium is positive therefore they attract

Metallic bonding

Metallic bonding involves a sea of electrons.

Metallic bonding involves a sea of electrons
A sea of electrons around positive metal ions.


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