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Ionic solids are one of the four major types of solids you need to know about in AP chemistry. The others are metallic, covalent network, and molecular solids.

The Basics ⚛️

  • Ionic solids are made up of oppositely charged ions held together by electrostatic attraction (a.k.a. ionic bonds). 
  • Electrostatic attraction just describes the attractive force between a positive charge and a negative charge.
  • The ions form a crystal lattice structure, seen in NaCl below:

Source: Redefining Knowledge


  • They're hard and brittle.
  • They have high melting points because ionic bonds require a lot of energy to break.
  • In solid form, ionic compounds are poor conductors.
  • When melted or dissolved in water, they will conduct electricity because they dissociate into individual ions that are free to move around.
  • Not all ionic compounds are soluble, though, so keep those solubility rules in mind!
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