Register to reply

Differentiate an ionic from a covalent compounds

by Godwin Kessy
Tags: compounds, covalent, differentiate, ionic
Share this thread:
Godwin Kessy
Sep19-09, 08:17 AM
P: 91
I have come to a situation that I can hardly differentiate an ionic from a covalent compounds!
Before this confusion I had firstly known that whenever I find a compound with constituents of atoms with a very large difference in electronegativity, then i just conclude that its ionic, or when I find it in form of crystal, If it can dissolve in water the =n it is an ionic bond

But During my thoroughly studying of bonding I found most of metals forming covalent bond and just from there I couldn't straight way tell, unless I know the compound very well and have seen it probably!!

Take an example of AlF6, Fe2O3
Are these ionic or covalent compounds?
Phys.Org News Partner Chemistry news on
Novel 'butterfly' molecule could build new sensors, photoenergy conversion devices
Rubber meets the road with new ORNL carbon, battery technologies
Breaking benzene
Sep19-09, 09:09 AM
Borek's Avatar
P: 23,572
Welcome to the chemistry

Not every compound can be easily classified. In the case of every bond there is some "ionicity" and some "covalenticity" - if one character prevails, we can classify the bound as either covalent or ionic, but sometimes it is not possible.
Sep19-09, 05:01 PM
P: 190
can the F and Al dissociate in water? same with Fe and O. If they can then it's ionic.

Sep19-09, 06:07 PM
Borek's Avatar
P: 23,572
Differentiate an ionic from a covalent compounds

Quote Quote by mazinse View Post
If they can then it's ionic.
Following this logic gaseous HCl is ionic as well. Rest assured it is not.
Sep19-09, 09:02 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by Borek View Post
Following this logic gaseous HCl is ionic as well. Rest assured it is not.

chemical calculators - buffer calculator, concentration calculator - all about titration methods
that rule for metal and nonmetal is no longer used in biochemistry.
Sep20-09, 03:44 AM
Borek's Avatar
P: 23,572
No idea what you are referring to. There is one general chemistry that is base of both chemistry and biochemistry. Sometimes definitions used in different areas of science differ, but reality is always one - HCl doesn't behave differently in chemistry or biochemistry labs.
Sep20-09, 07:49 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 1,866
There's no black-and-white of covalent/ionic, unless you're practicing 19th century chemistry.

It's a sliding scale. Basically the amount of 'ionic' versus 'covalent' character can be quantified by the difference in the respective electronegativities of the atoms involved. For the definitive explanation of the concept, see Chapter 3 of Pauling's "The Nature of the Chemical Bond".

He brings up AlF3 (which I think you mean?) Quoting the man:
Quote Quote by Linus Pauling
[O]f the fluorides of the second-row elements:
Melting point: NaF 995C MgF2 1263 AlF3 1257 SiF4 -90 PF5 -94 SF6 -51
those of the high melting points have been described as salts, and the others as covalent compounds; and the great change from aluminum to silicon fluoride has been interpreted as showing the bonds change sharply from the extreme ionic type to the extreme covalent type. I consider the bonds in aluminum fluoride to be only slightly different in character from those in silicon flouride, and I attribute the abrupt change in properties to the change of the atomic arrangement.
(He then explains that the first three are octahedral; each metal atom coordinates to a number of fluorines from another metal atom. But in SiF4, each silicon atom coordinates only to its own four fluorines, and the whole thing is held together by weak van der Waals forces between the SiF4 molecules.)

It's good to be able to tell if a bond is more ionic or covalent in character, but a strict distinction between covalent and ionic isn't possible, and therefore not very useful.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Ionic and covalent bonds... Biology, Chemistry & Other Homework 1
Properties Of ionic and covalent Biology, Chemistry & Other Homework 2
Ionic or covalent- check this please Biology, Chemistry & Other Homework 1
Ionic or covalent- Please check Biology, Chemistry & Other Homework 1