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Answered 2011-02-11 10:09:55

A salt is a compound of a metal and a nonmetal. It's a slam dunk to see how this works if you pull out a Periodic Table and look at it. Grab any element from Group 1 (the so-called alkali metals) or Group 2 (the so-called alkaline earth metals) with any element from Group 17 (the so-called halogens) and you have a salt.

The Group 1 and Group 2 elements are metals, and the Group 17 elements are non-metals. Note also that the Group 1 elements and Group 17 elements combine in a one-to-one ratio (like table salt - NaCl), and the Group 2 elements and Group 17 elements combine in a one-to-two ratio (like magnesium fluoride - MgF2).

Certainly these aren't the only examples of the combination of a metal and nonmetal to form a compound, but they go a long way to answer the question. As to the chemistry of all of this, it's a piece of cake. And you can handle these ideas with just a bit of work.

Wikipedia has a great periodic table posted, and it's interactive. Each of the elements listed on the chart is a link to the post on that element. Wow, what a time saver! Oh, and a link to that periodic table can be found below.

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