Factors Influencing the Formation of Ionic Bonds

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  • 0:04 Give or Take
  • 0:57 Definitions
  • 1:43 Ionic Bonding Factors
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Uptmor

Kimberly has a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education: Science and has master's in Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, she teaches 7th grade through college level classes.

Ionic bonding is a chemical bond between a positive ion and negative ion. Ionization energy, electronegativity, and lattice energy are the factors that influence the formation of ionic bonds of elements. Learn about these factors in this lesson.

Give or Take

When it comes to kids and their toys, it's interesting to see how certain factors in their life reflect the way they give or take toys. For example, some kids are happy when they can give away their toys to other kids. The happiness they spread to others by giving away the toy makes them much happier than receiving, so usually, they don't want to receive gifts. On the other hand, there are kids who are happier when they hold on to their toys. Anytime that a toy is taken away from them, they tend to become unhappy. Also, when there is a free toy, they're the first ones to snatch it.

Just as these kids are happy in different ways, elements with certain characteristics tend to be happy, or stable, when they give or take electrons. By giving or taking electrons, both elements become bonded ionically. How do we know what elements would much rather give than take? It's easy for us to observe kids, but it's much more difficult to observe elements bonding together.


Before looking at the factors that influence the formation of ionic bonds, let's look at basic definitions:

  • Ionic bonding is a chemical bond between a positive ion and a negative ion
  • Valence electrons are electrons in the outermost orbit of the atom
  • Positive ions are charged elements that want to 'give away' valence electrons to be stable, usually metal elements
  • Negative ions are charged elements that want to 'take' valence electrons in order to become stable, usually nonmetal elements
  • Ionization energy is energy that's required to remove an electron
  • Electronegativity is an element's ability to attract electrons to become chemically bonded
  • Lattice energy is energy that's required to separate or put together ions to form an ionic bond

Ionic Bonding Factors

Let's look at the different ionic bonding factors one at a time.

As stated earlier, ionic bonds are chemical bonds between a positive ion and a negative ion. Positive ions, which are typically located on the left side of the periodic table, are metals who tend to lose or give away their outermost electrons to become stable and bond.

Negative ions, which are typically located on the right side of the periodic table, are nonmetals who tend to hang on to their electrons and look for available ones to become stable and bond.

This seems simple enough, but one might ask why metals and nonmetal elements tend to act this way. When you look at the structure and characteristics of each, there are factors that enable them to act in a certain way, just as the sodium element and chlorine element interact with one another.

Metals and nonmetals tend to have characteristics that allow them to have a low or a high ionization energy. Positively charged ions, like some metals, would much rather give away an electron to become stable. Because of this, metals have a low ionization energy, meaning it takes very little energy for them to lose an electron. On the other hand, nonmetals usually have a high ionization energy, which means that it takes a lot of energy to remove an electron from the outer orbit. Remember, this is a good thing for nonmetals because they are negative ions that tend to hang on to their electrons and look for available ones.

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