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What is the difference between ionic and molecular compounds?

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The most important difference between ionic and molecular compounds lies in their formation. Ionic compounds are formed by the transfer of electrons while molecular compounds are formed by the sharing of electrons. Molecular compounds are also called covalent compounds. Ionic compounds have ionic bonds and molecular compounds have covalent bonds. There are molecular compounds with single, double and triple covalent bonds.

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Full Answer

When one pair of electrons is shared, it forms a single covalent bond. Similarly, a double and triple covalent bond is formed by the sharing of two and three pairs of electrons. Ionic compounds are formed between metals as well as non-metals while molecular compounds are formed only between non-metals. Examples of ionic compounds are common salt and sugar. Examples of molecular compounds are hydrogen molecule, nitrogen molecule and water.

Ionic compounds are crystalline with ions f,orming a three-dimensional lattice network. Solid molecular compounds are amorphous and have a powdery texture. Ionic compounds are always solids, while molecular compounds are found in all three states of matter.

Ionic compounds have higher melting and boiling points compared to molecular compounds. Ionic compounds conduct electricity in their molten state and in their aqueous solutions. Molecular compounds are poor conductors of heat and electricity. Ionic compounds are soluble in water but not in organic liquids. Molecular compounds are insoluble in water but soluble in most organic liquids.

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