Get an answer in 5 minutes

We'll notify as soon as your question has been answered.

Plus iconAsk a question to our educators
Asked by Dominique

How does an atom of lithium form an ionic bond with an atom of chlorine?

Atoms are particles with an overall charge of zero - uncharged particles. Learn this rule: Metal atoms lose electrons (-) to become positively charged ions (+). No-metal atoms gain electrons (-) to become negatively charged ions (-). Rule No2. = 2,8,8. What does this mean? The first shell contains a MAXIMUM of 2 electrons, 2nd shell contains a MAXIMUM of 8 electrons, and the 3rd shell contains a MAXIMUM of 8 electrons. When the shells of atoms are fully occupied by the maximum number of electrons, they are "happy" and stable. Why do atoms become ions? To gain stability. Rule No 3: Group number tells you how number of electrons in the last shell of an atom. Rule No 4: The period number tells you how many shells the atom has. Apply the rules! The element lithium found in group 1 (one electron last shell) and period 2 (2 shells). Each atom in an element of lithium has one electron in its last shell (2nd shell). A lithium atom loses this one electron, the 2nd shell becomes empty so the first shell is now the last shell. Remember the first shell contains 2 electrons and is stable. Lithium atom has lost an electron to become a positively charged ion, with a charge of +1. The element chlorine is found in group 7. Each atom in an element of Fluorine contains 7 electrons in its outer shell. Found in period 3, so it is the 3rd shell contains 7 electrons. I'm sure you can agree with me when I say it is harder to lose 7 electrons, but easier to gain one electron to become stable. Fluorine receives this electron that was given away by the lithium atom. This fluorine atom becomes a fluoride ion with a charge of -1. We have formed two oppositely charged ions. The Lithium atom has become a positive ion and chlorine atom has become a lithium ion. Rule No.5: Opposites attract. Positively charged Lithium ions form an ionic bond with negatively charged Fluoride ions. They are held together by this strong force of attraction because opposites attract.

Heaja's profile picture
Heaja Sadiq

15.6k students helped

Lithium ‘loses’ its valence electron and forms a positive lithium cation. Chlorine ‘gains’ that electron and forms a negative chloride anion. The opposite charges form an electrostatic attraction which is the ionic bond.

Andrew's profile picture
Andrew Bradshaw

14.9k students helped

Similar Chemistry questions

What is Q&A on Scoodle?

At Scoodle we understand that everyone learns in a different way. Some people learn through practice, using essays and notes; others prefer video lessons to watch and learn, some just need help with a specifically hard question, while some learn best 1-on-1 tutoring sessions. At Scoodle we cater for all types of learning styles and needs. From GCSE Maths video lessons to A-level English essays and specialist educators in every subject - we’ve got you covered.

Faces of students on ScoodleFaces of students on ScoodleFaces of students on Scoodle
Scoodle has helped over 131,000 students so far

5 Chemistry tutors available now

Need help with Chemistry?

Getting expert help from a tutor is a great way to improve your Chemistry grades.

Badge showing the text 'New'Discover learning resources by tutors

Learn Chemistry with Video Lessons
A-Level Physical Chemistry
1hr 9m · 7 videos
Ibrahim's profile picture
Ibrahim Dangra

2.1k students helped

A-Level Physical Chemistry
GCSE Chemistry: The Basics
12m · 2 videos
Beatrix's profile picture
Beatrix Huissoon

2k students helped

GCSE Chemistry: The Basics