Difference Between Ionic vs Molecular Compounds

Difference Between Ionic vs Molecular Compounds

Scientists believe that there is no vacuum in nature. This means everything you see around you is made of particles of varying characteristics and composition. As life continues to exist, there is bound to be a combination of two or more elements or a breakdown.

We will focus on how particles with diverse traits come together to form a new substance. To be more specific, we will be discussing the two types of chemical attraction that take place between these materials and the difference between ionic and molecular compounds.

Definition of Ionic Compounds

Ionic compounds are formed when metallic bodies bond together with a non-metallic substance by means of an electrical attraction. This type of reaction is referred to as the electrostatic force reaction of metals and non-metals.

Some of the properties include the following.

  • The force of attraction that brings the two elements together is known as an ionic bond.
  • It has a high boiling and melting point.
  • Naturally, the dominant state is a solid that requires being subjected to high heat before it would disintegrate.
  • They are good conductors of electric force.
  • Represented in a formula unit as opposed to molecular.
  • It has a high water solubility, which means it can easily dissolve in water.
  • The bonding method is by covalent sharing. This is when there is an ionic transfer of electrons between atoms.

Definition of Molecular Compounds

Molecular compounds are atoms connected to each other by electrically neutral particles known as molecules while sharing electrons. They are also referred to as molecules or covalent compounds.

There are diverse types of such compounds with varying levels of simplicity depending on how many atoms are present per molecule.

  • Diatomic molecules have only two atoms that could be of the same or dissimilar elements. Examples include H2O (water) and O2 (oxygen).
  • Heteronuclear diatomic molecules are made of two atoms of the same element combining to form a single compound. Examples include H2 (hydrogen), Cl2 (chlorine), and N2 (nitrogen).
  • Homonuclear diatomic molecules consist of two atoms of unlike elements coming together to form a chemical compound. Some examples are hydrochloric acid (HCl) and hydrogen fluoride (HF).

Some of the molecular compound properties that illustrate the ionic vs molecular variations include the following.

  • It does not involve any other element that is metal. Only non-metals can react to form a molecule.
  • The bonding of elements is by covalent bonding, which is by sharing pairs of electrons between atoms.
  • The representative unit is in a molecular form.
  • The dominant state at room temperature is in gaseous, liquid, or solid form.
  • It may or may not be soluble in water.
  • It only requires low melting and boiling temperatures.
  • It is not a good conductor of electricity.

Main Differences Between Ionic vs Molecular Compounds

In showing the difference between molecular and ionic compounds, here is a tabular representation of the most important variations between these two terms. This will serve as a comprehensive but quick reference that can provide the basic information you need to know about these compounds.

Basis of ComparisonIonic CompoundMolecular Compound
DefinitionFormed when metallic bodies react or bond together with a non-metallic substance by means of an electrical attractionAtoms connected to each other by electrically neutral particles known as molecules while sharing electrons
FormationMetals react with non-metalsAtoms share electrons with other elements
Solubility in waterWater solubleMay or may not be soluble in water
Ability to conduct electricityCan conduct electricity when dissolved in waterDoes not conduct electricity
State at room temperatureSolid stateLiquid, gaseous, or solid
Melting and boiling pointGenerally highGenerally low
BondingForms ionic bondingCovalent compound

Difference Between Ionic and Molecular Compounds: Conclusion

Looking at the table, you can tell how ionic vs molecular compounds vary from each other, starting with their definitions. While the former is quite soluble in water, the later may or may not be soluble in water. When dissolved in water, the former develops a better ability to conduct electricity, making it a good conductor in that form.