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Elements and Compounds
Chemical Bonding

Why do elements form ions?


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December 16, 2008 7:41PM

Both of the elements will have two different electronegativities. When there is a large difference between the two electronegativities, one element will "steal" one or more electrons from the other element. The energy required for this is ionization energy, and increases as an element takes more electrons from another.

My answer: Elements are stabilized when they contain a "complete shell" or the noble gas configuration of electrons, which is usually eight electrons. Elements that have a number of electrons close to that of a noble gas, will lose or gain electrons easily. For example, elements in the column just to the left of the noble gases have one fewer electron than the noble gas next to it, and therefore they tend to gain one electron easily. Elements in the column on the far left of the periodic table have one more electron than the noble gas in each row, and they tend to lose one electron easily. Because the protons contribute the positive charge, and the electrons contribute the negative charge, an ion is formed when an element gains or loses one or more electrons.