Electronegativity and Ionic Bond Example Problem

Is a Bond Ionic?

Elements that have very different electronegativity values from each other can form ionic bonds.
Elements that have very different electronegativity values from each other can form ionic bonds. Wikipedia GNU Free Documentation License

This example chemistry problem shows how to determine whether or not a chemical bond is ionic based on the electronegativity values of the elements participating in the bond.

Electronegativity and Bond Problem

Do germanium and bromine atoms form an ionic bond?

Solution

Whether or not two atoms form an ionic bond is determined by the difference between the electronegativity values of the atoms. These electronegativity values are available from a table.

The electronegativity of germanium is 1.8 and the electronegativity of bromine is 2.8. An ionic bond forms when the difference between the electronegativity values is 1.7 or higher.

2.8 - 1.8 = 1.0

Since the difference between the electronegativity values is less than 1.7, the bond formed between germanium and bromine is not an ionic bond.

Learn More

Worked Chemistry Problems
Overview of Electronegativity
Difference Between Ionic and Covalent Bonds
Electronegativity and Bond Polarity Example Problem
Periodicity and Electronegativity