Supercharge your learning!

Use adaptive quiz-based learning to study this topic faster and more effectively.

Ionic lattice structures

In solid form, an ionic compound consists of a giant lattice structure of ions. Electrostatic forces of attraction hold the ions in a fixed position in a well-ordered grid.

The electrostatic force is the attraction between two oppositely charged particles. The ionic lattice is formed by electrostatic forces between anions and cations.

When table salt ($$\ce{NaCl}$$) is in solid form, the positive sodium cations and negative chloride anions are held in a lattice structure.

The larger green spheres represent chloride ions while the smaller blue spheres represent the sodium ions.
The larger green spheres represent chloride ions while the smaller blue spheres represent the sodium ions.

Ionic compounds tend to be solids at room temperature due to their high melting and boiling points.

They have high melting points and boiling points because a lot of energy is needed to overcome the strong electrostatic forces between all the ions.

Magnesium oxide ($$\ce{MgO}$$) is used to line the inner surfaces of furnaces as it is able to withstand high temperatures.