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Sodium Chloride

This is sodium chloride, also known as table salt. Most people scientist know that the formula for salt is NaCl. One sodium (Na) atom gives it's electron to one chlorine (Cl) atom. Chlorine then has the eight electrons in its outer shell to make it "happy". Sodium is "happy" because it has now given up its one extra electron.

NaCl
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NaCl
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NaCl

What Happens When Elements Combine?

When several elements come together it is called a compound. Compounds can be made up of two atoms or hundreds of atoms. There are even compounds that have the same number of atoms, but have different shapes. Those compounds with different structures are called isomers.

No matter what atoms are in a compound, they all want to be "happy". A happy atom is one with the right number of electrons in the outer orbital (usually eight). That desire to be happy is why some elements only combine with a few other elements. Not all elements can make each other "happy".

To learn more about what makes an atom happy and how it picks other elements to combine with, just click... [Button: To Compound Details]


Aluminum Trichloride

Chlorine (Cl) can also bond with aluminum (Al). Aluminum has three extra electrons and will easily let the chlorine atoms use them. Because aluminum has three, that means three chlorine atoms can bond. They make the formula AlCl3, also known as aluminum trichloride. Each of the chlorine atoms gets an electron to fill its shell, and the aluminum loses three, giving it a filled shell too (remember, Aluminum has three extra electrons). The name trichloride means three chlorine atoms are involved.

AlCl3
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AlCl3
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AlCl3

How Do Scientists Name Compounds?

Don't get confused when you look at the names of some of these compounds. The names may be long, but they all make sense. Scientists came up with a naming system for compounds that is very specific.

You will find that there are usually at least two words in a compound name. The first word describes the first part of the compound. The second word describes the last part of the compound.

Use H2S as an example. The name of the compound is hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen is for the H2 part of the formula. Sulfur is the second part so scientists say "sulfide". There is SULF, and then they finish the word with IDE. Most compound names end with IDE.

For the real dirt on naming just click... [Button: To Naming Details]


Nitrogen Trichloride

Nitrogen can combine with three chlorine atoms, forming Nitrogen trichloride, or NCl3. Nitrogen shares its electrons with the chlorine atoms, so all of the atoms have their shells filled.

Take a look at the dots around the atoms. All of them now have eight electrons, and a filled outer shell!

NCl3
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NCl3
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NCl3

Different Kinds Of Bonds

You should know that even though there are two electrons involved in a bond, those electrons can be shared in different ways. Two types of bonds we will talk about are covalent and ionic (electrovalent) bonds.

Ionic/electrovalent bonds happen when electrons are given up by one atom to another. Covalent bonds happen when electrons are shared by both atoms.

If you want to learn more about bonds try this... Bonding Details



 
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