What type of bonding occurs in iron(III) chloride, FeCl3?
To understand bonding and be able to distinguish among covalent, ionic, and metallic substances.
A chemical formula such as H2O indicates that two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen are bonded together to form a molecule of water. But what exactly is a bond? There are three main types of bonding:
1. Covalent bonding occurs between nonmetals.
2. Metallic bonding occurs between metals.
3. Ionic bonding occurs between a cation and an anion (often a metal and a nonmetal).
Nonmetals must gain electrons to achieve a noble-gas configuration. By sharing electrons with each other through covalent bonding, nonmetals can effectively gain the electrons they need to achieve stability.
Metals must lose electrons and form cations to achieve a noble-gas configuration. The electrons that are lost form what is often called a "sea of electrons" to which the positively charged metal ions are attracted. This is called metallic bonding.
The attraction of an anion to a cation results in ionic bonding. Since metals form cations and nonmetals form anions, ionic compounds are often composed of a metal and a nonmetal.
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