Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Did you know?

We also have Bitesize study guides covering many subjects at National 4 and National 5 on our Knowledge & Learning BETA website.

Home > Chemistry > Properties of substances > Ionic and covalent substances


Ionic and covalent substances


If you have worked through Revision Bite "Conduction of electricity" you will have learned about electrical conductivity of elements and compounds.This Revision Bite will focus on some other important properties of ionic and covalent compounds.

Before you start

Before you go on with this section it would be useful to know the answers to these questions:

  • What kind of elements are found in covalent compounds?
  • What kinds of elements are found in ionic compounds?
  • Where would you find transition metals in the periodic table?


To understand this section it would be helpful to know these words:

  • Ionic compounds are compounds made of charged particles (ions). The positive ions are formed by metals having lost one or more electrons. The negative ions are formed by non-metals gaining one or more extra electrons.

    Ionic compounds conduct electricity when molten or in aqueous solution.

  • Covalent compounds are usually made from non-metal elements which are joined by bonds where electrons are shared.

    Covalent compounds do not conduct electricity at all.



A picture of Mia Cadaver

Tombstone Timeout

Test out your knowledge of chemistry with Mia Cadaver's chemistry game - it's serious fun!

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.