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The ionic bond

An ionic bond is a chemical bond where electrons are completely transferred from one atom (or group of atoms) to another. This bond typically occurs between metals and non-metals.

This is unlike a covalent bond, where two non-metallic atoms share electrons.

Atoms will gain or lose electrons to satisfy the octet rule.

Metal atoms tend to lose their valence electrons to form cations. A cation is a positively-charged ion that has more protons than electrons, resulting in an overall positive charge.

Non-metal atoms usually gain electrons from metal atoms to form anions. An anion is a negatively-charged ion that has more electrons than protons, resulting in an overall negative charge.

The positive and negative ions are attracted to one another because of electrostatic forces. The attraction between these positive and negative ions is the basis for ionic bonding.

A 2D representation of sodium chloride (table salt). Sodium chloride crystals consist of chloride anions and sodium cations arranged in a lattice.