Mineral - atoms


Atoms have a tendency to gain or lose electrons so that their outer orbitals become stable; this is normally accomplished by these orbitals being filled with the maximum allowed number of valence electrons. Metallic sodium, for example, has one valence electron in its outer orbital; it becomes ionized by readily losing this electron and exists as the cation Na + . Conversely, chlorine gains an electron to complete its outer orbital, thereby forming the anion Cl − . In the mineral halite, NaCl (common, or rock, salt), the chemical bonding that holds the Na + and Cl − ions together is the attraction between the two opposite charges. This bonding mechanism is referred to as ionic, or electrovalent ( see Figure 7A ).


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