Is NaCl Covalent or Ionic?

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is a metal halide that is made up of sodium and chloride. It is also known as ordinary salt.

Sodium and chloride both have the ability to be replenished. As a result, sodium can be replenished in times of need and emergency to preserve intracellular osmolarity.

It also helps with nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and maintaining adequate kidney function.

The mineral Sodium Chloride is abundant on Earth and is required by both plants and animals.

Sodium Chloride, an inorganic chloride salt, contains Sodium (+1), which serves as a counterion. A flame retardant is provided by the crystalline white substance.

Is Sodium Chloride (NaCl) an ionic or a covalent substance? Sodium chloride is an ionic compound that is generated when electrons are transferred between its atoms, resulting in the creation of ions. As an alkali metal, sodium donates one of its valence electrons to create a monovalent ion with a (+1) charge. Chlorine, on the other hand, as a halogen, accepts one electron and creates a monovalent ion. As a result, sodium has a positive charge of Na (+1), while chlorine has a negative charge of Cl (-1).

The ions that create have an electrical attraction to one another. Ionic bonds are formed as a result of this process. Ionic bonds are generated when a metal and a nonmetal come together.

What is the definition of an ionic bond?

When one or more electrons are transferred between two or more atoms, it is called an ionic bond.

The production of positive ions, known as cations, and negative ions, known as anions, is caused by the transfer of electrons between atoms.

The ionic link between the atoms is formed when anions and cations attract each other.

The Ionic bond is formed when certain electrons are completely transferred between two or more atoms.

Between the negatively charged anions and the positively charged cations, an electrostatic force is created.

During the electron transfer process, an electrostatic attraction occurs between two oppositely charged atoms, resulting in the formation of an ionic bond.

By exchanging electrons, Na (+1) and Cl (-1) form an ionic bond. In general, electron orbitals do not cross each other. The major reason for this is that each ion reaches its lowest energy level.

The electrostatic attraction between positively charged cations and negatively charged anions is usually all that holds the bond together. Ionic solids have been discovered to be soluble in water in several instances.

Although there isn’t total solubility. The solubility of ionic solids in water will be determined by the degree of attraction.

The cations are attracted to the ion pairs on water molecules, and coordinate bonds are created at the same moment.

Ionic and Covalent Bonds: What’s the Difference?

The metallic atom loses an electron in an ionic interaction, while the nonmetallic atom receives an electron. These bonds are more powerful than hydrogen bonds.

In contrast to covalent bonds, in which atoms are joined by the sharing of electrons, ionic bonds are formed by the exchange of two oppositely charged ions.

The Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory (VSEPR Theory) in the Covalent Bond determines the geometry of each atom.

In an ionic bond, the maximum packing principles define the geometry of each atom. The shape of the atoms plays a role in determining whether the chemical is ionic or covalent.

The entire energy change is critical in determining the bond. The stronger the bond creation, the greater the energy change.

As a result of the bigger difference in electronegativity, the link between the two or more atoms will be more ionic.

Why does NaCl form an Ionic Bond?

It’s critical to comprehend NaCl’s ionic bond. The sodium atom is made up of 11 protons and 11 electrons. In the 3s subshell, there is only one valence electron.

We’ll go over the concept of s and p orbitals before we get into the electron configuration.

The S orbital is a symmetrical orbit with a spherical shape that exists around the nucleus of an atom. The electrons are pushed farther out from the nucleus as the energy of the nucleus gradually increases. As a result, the orbitals become larger.

P orbitals, on the other hand, are a concept. The electrons in the 1s orbital have access to the orbital at the first level of energy.

The availability of the 2s and 2p orbitals grows as the energy of the electrons increases. The p orbitals, unlike the s orbitals, are oriented in a specific direction.

There are three equivalent p orbitals that point at right angles to each other at every given energy level.

The chlorine atom is made up of 17 protons and 17 electrons. There are seven valence electrons in the third shell, which are symbolised as 3s2 3p5.

The process of donating and absorbing electrons forms an ionic bond between the metal and the non-metal.

Because sodium is an electropositive element, it loses its lone valence electron, which Chlorine accepts. The electrical configuration of the sodium ion as a result is 1s2 2s2 2p6.

As a result of the presence of 11 protons in its nucleus, the sodium ion obtains a charge of +1.

The electronegative Chlorine atom, on the other hand, receives one electron. The chloride ion’s resulting electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6.

When a chloride ion gains an electron, it gains a charge of 1. The presence of 17 protons and 18 electrons in the nucleus results in an ion with a charge of – 1.

The Lewis Structure can be used to simply demonstrate the production of sodium chloride.

Only the Valence electrons are represented in the Lewis Structure, which also depicts the electron transfer between the two atoms.

MgCl2, which also falls under the ionic compound umbrella, is a related chemical. Check out the article on MgCl2’s ionic nature.

In the NaCl molecule, why is Na a cation and Cl an anion?

Sodium is an electropositive alkali metal. It loses one valence electron, whereas Chlorine, as a nonmetal, receives one electron.

Sodium loses its lone valence electron and forms an octet cation. Chlorine will receive the solitary electron provided by Sodium to form an anion with an octet.

An ionic compound is formed as a result of this process.

In general, ionic compounds are the consequence of a perfect combination of metallic elements on the left side of the Periodic Table and nonmetallic elements on the top of the right side corner of the Periodic Table.

Each sodium ion is surrounded by six chloride ions in the crystalline form of sodium chloride, while each chloride ion is surrounded by six sodium ions.

Each ion will have a complete electron shell that resembles the electron shell of the nearest inert gas.

The electron configuration of the sodium ion becomes the same as that of neon, whereas the electronic configuration of the chloride ion becomes the same as that of argon.

You should also read the article written about KCl’s ionic property.


It is obvious from the preceding discussion that sodium chloride will form an ionic compound for the following reasons:

The complete movement of electrons from one atom to the other is the only way to form an ionic bond. The cation is made up of atoms that have lost their electrons, while the anion is made up of atoms that have gained electrons.

Sodium has an atomic number of 11, which means it has 11 protons and 11 electrons in total.

The electronic configuration of sodium will be comparable to that of neon, resulting in the electronic configuration 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s1.

In the outermost shell of the sodium atom, there is only one valence electron.

Sodium has a tendency to lose an electron, causing the valence shell to reach the octet state, which is the most stable.

Because sodium is electropositive, it will lose an electron, causing it to ionise. Sodium will now have a charge of +1.

The atomic number of chlorine is 17, which means it has 17 protons and 17 electrons.

The valence shell of the chlorine atom has seven electrons.

As a result of its electronegative character, Chlorine has a proclivity for accepting one electron to complete its octet.

Accepting a single electron will allow Chlorine to complete its third shell.

Chlorine will have an electrical configuration identical to that of Argon, which is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6.

Chlorine’s charge becomes – 1. The electron transfer between the Sodium and Chlorine atoms results in the development of an Ionic Bond with Na+ and Cl-, respectively.

Read more: Structure, Geometry, Hybridization, and Polarity of Nco Lewis

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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