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Comparison of Ionic and Covalent Bond

Aug 22, 2022

Key Concepts

• Atom

• Elements

• Compounds

• Bonding

• Ionic bond


• Covalent bond

Comparison of Ionic and Covalent Bond


Elements are substances that are made up of only one type of atom, each atom having exactly the same number of protons in its nucleus‘C’ is an element because all of its atoms are carbon atoms. Each carbon atom has 6 protons in its nucleus, giving carbon an atomic number of 6. 


If a substance is made of different types of atoms, then it is called a compound. The molecules that make up compounds range from small to large. For example, sugar is the energy source for living things. Sugar or glucose is a molecular compound made up of molecules. Each molecule contains 24 atoms. 

Example of compound


The electrons move around the nucleus. Nucleus contains protons that are positively charged particles and the electrons are the negatively charged particles. The attractive force between electrons and protons in an element depends on the structure and the number of electrons and protons. Based on it, some elements are unstable as the nucleus cannot hold the electrons around them. They try to move to the other element forming a compound. This is called bonding. These bonds are chemical bonds. 

Covalent bonding:  

The bonding of elements is done by sharing an electron. One element shares one of the electrons with another element. The shared electrons travel in both the elements and make the compound stable.  

Example for covalent compound.

Examples for Covalent Compounds: 

O2, Cl2, PCl3, O3, H2, H2O, HCl, CH4, NH3, CO2 are some of the examples of the covalent compounds. 

Ionic bonding:  

The bond formed when an element gives away its electron to another element for the latter to gain stability is called ionic bond. The compound formed through the giving away of the electron is called an ionic compound. The ionic bond forms between the elements that are short of an electron for stability and another element that has excess of electrons. 

Example for Ionic compound

Examples of Ionic compounds: 

NaCl, KI, NaF, NaHCO3, Na2CO3, NaOCl, CaCO3, NaOH, MgSO4, Na2SO3, Mg(OH)2, Al(OH)2, are some of the examples for the ionic compounds. 

Comparing Covalent and Ionic Compounds: 

State of matter: 

The ionic compounds at room temperature are solids, whereas the covalent compounds can be in any state either solid, liquid or gas. 

Conduction of electricity: 

Ionic compounds may not conduct electricity in solid form but when dissolved in water they conduct electricity. In contrast, covalent compounds do not conduct electricity either in solid state or when dissolved. 


Ionic compounds exist in stable crystalline structures. The structures of covalent compounds are stable as well, but not as stable as ionic compounds. 

Crystal structure of NaCl 

Melting and boiling point: 

The melting and boiling point of the compounds depends on the stability of the structure. As ionic compounds are more stable than the covalent compounds, the melting and boiling points of the ionic compounds is high compared to the covalent compounds. 

The covalent bond can be formed between two similar atoms like hydrogen, oxygen whereas the ionic bond cannot be formed. 

ionic bond vs covalent bond


• Atoms are the basic unit of any matter around us.

• An atom contains electrons, protons and neutrons in it.

• Elements are the combination of same type of atoms.

• Compounds are the combination of two or more types of atoms.

• The elements are of three types:

  1. Metals
  2. Non-metals
  3. Metalloids

• Alloys are the combinations of the metals in some particular ratio.


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