Summary of bonding types

There are four kinds of bonding types to be aware of. These are ionic, simple covalent molecular, giant covalent network and metallic.

The table below summarises them, identifying typical properties of each. Simple covalent molecular is listed as 'simple' and giant covalent network is listed as 'giant'.

IonicSimpleGiantMetallic
Metals and non-metalsNon-metalsNon-metalsMetals
Loss and gain of electrons by atomsShare pairs of electrons between atomsShare pairs of electrons between atomsOuter electrons free to move
+ and - ions formed attract each otherSmall groups of atoms held togetherBillions of atoms are held togetherBillions of positive metal ions
Ionic lattice structureA molecular structureGiant covalent lattice structureGiant metallic lattice structure

Comparing models

The different bonding models that are used to represent the bonding and structure of substances have certain features and limitations. For example, the model of the metallic lattice on the previous page does not show more than one layer of metal ions, or that the delocalised electrons are in constant motion.

Models for ionic compounds

Ionic compounds form a regular lattice structure in which oppositely charged ions are strongly attracted to each other. Sodium chloride is an ionic compound. The table shows some limitations of different models for sodium chloride.

Four examples of ionic compounds in models

Models for simple molecular substances

The atoms in a simple molecular substance are joined together by strong covalent bonds. Molecules are attracted to each other by weak intermolecular forces. Water is a simple molecular substance. The table shows some limitations of different models of water.

Four models for simple molecular substances
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