Ionic crystals are crystalline structures that grow from ionic bonds and are held together by electrostatic attraction. Ionic bonds are atomic bonds created by the attraction of two differently charged ions. The bond is typically between a metal and a non-metal.
Common Ionic Crystals
The most prevalent ionic crystal example is table salt, NaCl. Other examples include:
- Potassium fluoride
- Potassium chloride
- Potassium bromide
- Potassium iodide
- Sodium fluoride
- Sodium bromide
- Sodium chloride
- Sodium iodide
- Caesium fluoride
- Caesium bromide
- Caesium chloride
- Caesium iodide
- Rubidium fluoride
- Rubidium bromide
- Rubidium chloride
- Rubidium iodide
- Lithium fluoride
- Lithium bromide
- Lithium chloride
- Lithium iodide
Many of these look familiar? These examples show how ionic crystals are a part of our everyday lives.
Understanding Ionic Crystals
As solids, ionic crystals are insulators. As Encyclopedia Britannica states:
“In insulators, nearly all the electrons are bound, and very few electrons are capable of carrying current. A typical metal has one or more conduction electrons in each atomic unit cell, a semiconductor may have only one conduction electron for each thousand unit cells, and an insulator may have one conduction electron per one million or one trillion unit cells.”
Other key features of these ionic crystals are:
- They melt or boil only at very high temperatures. The enthalphy of these crystals (the amount of fusion and vaporization necessary to melt one mole) is as much as 100 times that of other molecular compounds.
- They are very hard. They are so brittle because if one layer of ions must move past another, the entire arrangement is disturbed.
The crystalline structures form after the bond is created and the structure varies based on the ions which have combined.
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"Ionic Crystal Examples." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 23 June 2018. <http://examples.yourdictionary.com/ionic-crystal-examples.html>.
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