The most important difference between ionic and molecular compounds lies in their formation. Ionic compounds are formed by the transfer of electrons while molecular compounds are formed by the sharing of electrons.
Molecular compounds are also called covalent compounds. Ionic compounds have ionic bonds and molecular compounds have covalent bonds. There are molecular compounds with single, double and triple covalent bonds.
Ionic compounds are crystalline with ions forming a three-dimensional lattice network. Solid molecular compounds are amorphous and have a powdery texture. These compounds are always solids, while molecular compounds are found in all three states of matter.
Ionic compounds have higher melting and boiling points compared to molecular compounds. Ionic compounds conduct electricity in their molten state and in their aqueous solutions. Molecular compounds are poor conductors of heat and electricity. Ionic compounds are soluble in water but not in organic liquids. Molecular compounds are insoluble in water but soluble in most organic liquids.
Ionic compounds are a result of ionic bonds; these bonds are formed through the electrostatic forces between atoms that attract them towards each other due to opposite electrical charges. Each element tries to achieve a stable electronic configuration, i.e. the electronic configuration of the inert gasses.
The atoms that have already achieved a noble gas electronic configuration are not reactive since they are already stable. But the elements that have not gained a stable electronic configuration tend to give away or receive the required number of electrons to achieve the closest noble gas configuration. Ions are formed by this principle.
The atoms that give away the extra electron(s) to achieve a stable electronic configuration become positively charged and these are called ‘cations.’
In the same manner, the atoms that accept the extra electron(s) to attain a stable electronic configuration end up being negatively charged, and they are called ‘anions.’ Therefore, ionic bonds are formed between anions and cations.
Molecular compounds are called molecules to be brief. Most of the existing molecular compounds contain a lot of atoms like the table sugar, sucrose, which is chemically written as C12H22O11. It means that it has 12 atoms of carbon, 22 atoms of hydrogen, and 11 atoms of oxygen.
In molecular compounds, the attraction of atoms is called a covalent bond. Molecular compounds typically have little or no electrical conductivity properties. These types of compounds are often formed between two non-metals.
Molecular compounds have low melting and boiling points. As has been said, they are poor electrical conductors and can only conduct diminutively unless the molecular compounds are in aqueous and polar. At standard temperature and pressure (STP), these compounds can be in different states – solid, gas, or liquid.
Notable Distinctions Between Ionic and Molecular Compound
Here are the key differences between both of them:
1. Ionic compounds are made by gaining or losing the electrons while covalent compounds are made by sharing the electrons.
2. Ionic compounds are good conductors of electricity but covalent compounds are poor conductors of electricity.
3. Ionic compounds are soluble in water but covalent compounds are not.
4. Compounds with ionic bonds have no definite shape.
5. Ionic compounds have high melting or bowling point but covalent compounds have low melting or boiling point.
6. Sodium chloride and sulfuric acid is an example of Ionic compounds.
7. Methane and HCL have a covalent bond.