Chem – Breaking Apart Ionic Compounds

What sections should I know before attempting to learn this section?

—> Representation of Compounds and Molecules with Subscripts

—> Covalent, Ionic, and Metallic Bonds

—> Introduction to Polyatomic Ions Part 1

—> Forming Ionic Compounds


How do you break apart ionic compounds?

As we go forward into the future of learning chemistry it will become essential for us to be able to take ionic compounds and break them up into their component ions. It is a mindset that you have to develop as you go but right here we want to give you a boost or head start on it. All ionic compounds break up into positive ions (cations) and negative ions (anions). The positive ions (usually metals) are on the left side of the chemical formula and the negative ions (usually non-metals) are on the right side of the chemical formula.


Examples: Separate the CHEMICAL FORMULAS into their ionic components. Give the POSITIVE ion and the NEGATIVE ion and tell how many of each are in the CHEMICAL FORMULA. Use the ionic periodic table or the polyatomic ions list if needed. VIDEO Breaking Apart Ionic Compounds Examples 1.

Formula Positive Negative
LiF 1 Li1+ 1 F1-
Al2O3 2 Al3+ 3 O2-
HCN 1 H1+ CN1-
Mg(NO3)2 1 Mg2+ 2 NO31-
Rb2Se 2 Rb1+ 1 Se2-
NH4OH 1 NH41+ 1 OH1-
Mn3N4 3 Mn4+ 4 N3-



PRACTICE PROBLEMS: Pick out the POLYATOMIC IONS from the chemical formula. There may be ONE, TWO, or NONE. Use the ionic periodic table or the polyatomic ions list if needed.

Formula Positive Negative
CsBr 1 Cs1+ 1 Br1-
Be3N2 3 Be2+ 2 N3-
KNO3 1 K1+ 1 NO31-
Ca(OH)2 1 Ca2+ 2 OH1-
Ba3(PO4)2 3 Ba2+ 2 PO43-
Ti2S 2 Ti1+ 1 S2-
CrSO4 1 Cr2+ 1 SO42-

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