What Kind of Shape Do Table Salt Ions Form?


Quick Answer

Table salt, or sodium chloride, is formed by the ionic bonding of sodium and chlorine molecules, which join together in a cube shape. No matter how large or small the salt crystals are, they always form cubes.

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Full Answer

Table salt typically consists of quite small crystal cubes, but very large salt crystals are sometimes found in salt mines. No matter the size of the crystal, sodium chloride always breaks into cubes when struck by a hammer or other hard object. Due to ionic bonding, sodium chloride always has the exact same cubic crystal structure and the same properties, because sodium and chlorine can only bond in one way. The chemical formula for sodium chloride is NaCl.

The most common type of salt deposit is known as halite or rock salt, which occurs naturally in various places around the world. It ranges in color from clear to white, gray or brown. The rest of the salt in the world either occurs along with other evaporated minerals in salt flats or in seawater, which is made up of approximately 2.6 percent sodium chloride. Although halite deposits are quite common, the dissolved salt in seawater is by far the largest source of sodium chloride in the world.

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