Difference Between Ionic vs Molecular Compounds

Difference Between Ionic vs Molecular Compounds

There are a lot of things about life that we do not yet understand. Based on that, one can say that human knowledge is limited. However, with the little we have grasped, thanks to scholars and scientists, we have come to understand that everything we see around us is made of matter, which may combine in its minutest states to form something entirely new.

In this piece, we will focus on how particles with diverse traits combine to form a new entity. Specifically, we will examine the difference between ionic and molecular compounds.

Definition of Ionic Compounds

An ionic compound is defined as a form of matter produced when metallic bodies bond with a non-metallic substance by means of an electrical pull. From this definition, it is obvious that there is a notable existence of electricity and magnetism.

Some of the traits of ionic compounds include the following.

  • The force of attraction that combines the two elements is known as an ionic bond.
  • They boil and melt at high temperatures.
  • Naturally, the dominant state is solid, which requires being subjected to high heat before it will melt.
  • They are good conductors of electric force.
  • Ionic compounds are represented in a formula unit.
  • They have high water solubility, which means they can easily dissolve in water.
  • The bonding method is by covalent sharing, where electrons transfer between elements ionically.

Definition of Molecular Compounds

A molecular compound is defined as minute pieces of matter connected to each other by neutral particles known as molecules, which share electrons. As a result of the type of hold that exists between them, they are also referred to as covalent compounds.

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

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

Some of the properties that show the ionic vs molecular variations include the following characteristics of a molecular compound.

  • It does not involve any element that is metal. Only non-metals can react to form a molecule.
  • The bonding of elements is by the covalent method, which is a sharing of pairs of electrons between minute particles.
  • The representative unit is in a molecular form.
  • The dominant state at room temperature can be a gaseous, liquid, or solid form.
  • It may or may not be soluble in water.
  • A molecular compound 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 their most important variations. This will serve as a comprehensive but quick glance that can provide the basic information you should know.

Basis of ComparisonIonic CompoundMolecular Compound
DefinitionFormed when metallic bodies react or bond with a non-metallic substance by means of an electrical attractionAtoms connected to each other by electrically neutral particles known as molecules, which share electrons
FormationMetals react with non-metalsParticles 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 temperatureSolidLiquid, 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. These compounds play an essential role in forming the world around us. We interact with them on a daily basis without even realizing it, but we could not even live without some of them.