Why are ionic compounds electrically neutral?


Quick Answer

Ionic compounds are electrically neutral because the charges of the cations and anions that make up the compound cancel each other out. In the case of salt for example, sodium has a charge of positive one, and chloride has a charge of negative one. Together, they neutralize the compound.

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Full Answer

Ionic compounds are made up of positively and negatively charged atoms or molecules. Those with a positive charge are called cations, while those with a negative charge are called anions. The two are attracted to each other because of their opposite charges. Cations and anions can attract more than one molecule of the opposite type, creating a longer molecule held together by ionic bonds.

Calcium chloride is another example of an ionic compound, with the positive calcium canceling out the negative chloride. Iron bromide does the same, with the positive charge from the iron canceling out the negative charge from the bromide. This electrical neutrality helps keep the compound stable, making it easier to work with and much less volatile than unstable ions.

Most ionic compounds are solids with high melting points. They are often formed by one metal and one non metal element. Compounds that are made from two nonmetals are often covalently bonded compounds.

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