There are three basic types of chemical compounds, and should be briefly introduced in this post about basic chemistry concepts. All of them are the result of bonding atoms together. The difference is in the nature of the forces that hold together those atoms.
- In molecules (such as water, or H2O, see above), which are neutral compounds of “individual” nature, atoms are glued together by covalent bonds. Covalent bonds generally occur between two non-metal atoms, which share pairs of electrons, or bonding pairs.
- In ionic compounds (such as sodium chloride, or NaCl, commonly known as “salts”), atoms are in ionic form (charged) and are held together by ionic forces, giving rise to large networks of oppositely charged ions. Ionic bonds occur between metals and non-metals.
- When extended networks of atoms are formed between one or more types of metal atoms, we are talking about metallic bonds.