Crystal Lattice Structure

The crystal lattice structure of ionic compounds

Ionic substances are actually a combination of lots of ions bonded together into a giant molecule. The arrangement of ions in a regular, geometric structure is called a crystal lattice. So in fact \(\text{NaCl}\) does not contain one \(\text{Na}\) and one \(\text{Cl}\) ion, but rather a lot of these two ions arranged in a crystal lattice where the ratio of \(\text{Na}\) to \(\text{Cl}\) ions is 1:1. The structure of the crystal lattice is shown below.

The crystal lattice arrangement in \(\text{NaCl}\)

A space filling model of the sodium chloride lattice

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