Electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions in a chemical compound. Such a bond forms when one or more electrons are transferred from one neutral atom (typically a metal, which becomes a cation) to another (typically a nonmetallic element or group, which becomes an anion). The two types of ion are held together by electrostatic forces in a solid that does not comprise neutral molecules as such; rather, each ion has neighbours of the opposite charge in an ordered overall crystalline structure. When, for example, crystals of common salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) are dissolved in water, they dissociate (see dissociation) into two kinds of ions in equal numbers, sodium cations (Na+) and chloride anions (Cl). See also bonding; covalent bond.
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