How is Sodium Carbonate Ionic: Detailed Explanations


In this article, “how is sodium carbonate ionic”, the ionic or covalent character of sodium carbonate with detailed explanations are discussed briefly.

Sodium carbonate is an ionic substance with a molar mass 106.0 g/mol. There is a strong ionic interaction between two sodium ion (Na+) and one carbonate ion (CO32-). It is basically sodium salt of weak carbonic acid. Sodium carbonate has a crystalline heptahydrate like structure.

Some questions about the ionic character of sodium carbonate are answered in this article.

Difference between ionic and covalent compound

Ionic CompoundCovalent Compound
Ionic interaction between two species is build up by completely transferring of one or more than one electron.Covalency between two chemical species arises due to sharing of electron cloud
Ionic bonds are generally observed between a metal and nonmetallic substanceCovalent bonds are generally the linkage between two nonmetallic compounds.
 Higher melting and boiling point are one of the most important characteristics of ionic compound.Lower boiling and melting point are the properties of the covalent compound.
Ionic bond is present only in solid state of any chemical species.Covalent bond is present in all the three states (solid, liquid, gas) of any chemical species.
how is sodium carbonate ionic
Completely Transferring of Electrons in Ionic Compound.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Sharing of electron cloud in covalent compound.
Image Credit: Wikipedia

 To know more please follow: N2 polar or nonpolar: Why, How, Characteristics, And Detailed Facts

Is sodium carbonate ionic or covalent?

Sodium carbonate is a white crystalline powdered inorganic salt and used as base having moderate strength. Washing soda or soda ash are the another name of sodium carbonate.

Sodium carbonate is consisted with two atoms, sodium and carbonate ion. The number of sodium ion is two because the charge of carbonate ion is two and to balance the charge two sodium ion (Na+) is required. But the bonds in carbonate ion (bonds between carbon and oxygen) are covalent bonds.

Sodium has atomic number 11 and the electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s1. In sodium carbonate, metal substance is sodium and nonmetallic substance is carbonate ion. Ionic bonds in sodium carbonate are present in sodium and oxygen. After decomposition the two ions are formed.

Na2CO3 🡢 2Na+ + CO32-

Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) is an ionic compound obtained by mining the mineral deposits of sodium carbonate and another process for obtaining sodium carbonate is the Solvay process in which sodium chloride (NaCl) is reacted with ammonia to form NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate) and later after heating Na2CO3 is obtained.

To know more please check: 4 nonpolar covalent bond examples: Detailed Insights And Facts

Why Sodium carbonate is not a covalent compound?

Covalent bonds are generally observed in two nonmetal compounds. In sodium carbonate one is metal and another one is nonmetallic species. Sodium is positively charged and carbonate ion is negatively charged. Thus, a strong interionic attraction force between two species.

 In covalent compounds none of the participating atoms get positively or negatively charged. One of the valid reason behind this is that electrons are not permanently transferred from one atom to another atom. Electrons are only shifted from less electronegative atom to more electronegative atom.

In sodium carbonate, sodium carbonate sodium becomes unipositive and carbonate ion has -2 charge. It is basically the sodium salt of carbonic acid (H2CO3). The electronegativity difference between two atoms must be comparatively high in ionic compounds than covalent compounds. In sodium carbonate due to presence of two oppositely charged ions the electronegativity difference is relatively high.

To know more please read: 5+ Double Bond Examples: Detailed Insights And Facts

Sodium carbonate Lewis structure

Determining Lewis structure or lewis dot structure of any compound is very much essential to assign total valance electron as well as bonding and nonbonding electrons.

To draw the lewis structure of any compound the below described steps must be followed.

  • Determine the total outer most shell electrons of each of the species.
  • Determine the number of electrons required to fulfil the octet in their valance shell.
  • Number of bonds and bonding electrons should be counted.
  • Outer most shell electrons are generally written around the respective species.
Lewis Dot Structure of Water. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In the above image of water lewis structure four valance electrons are shown around oxygen atoms and rest of the two valance electrons are used to form the two covalent bonds with two hydrogen atoms.

In the lewis structure of sodium carbonate two ions sodium and carbonate are drawn separately like the following picture.

Sodium Carbonate Lewis Structure

In this above image, the carbonate ion lewis structure is actually resonance hybrid structure. Carbon is doubly bonded with one oxygen and singly bonded with another two oxygen atoms. Singly bonded oxygen atoms have three electron pairs as nonbonded electron pairs and two electron pairs remain nonbonded for the doubly bonded oxygen atom. Bonded electrons are shown in the form of covalent bonds in carbonate ion.

To know more please go through: 5+ Metallic Bond Examples: Explanation and detailed Facts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What happens when sodium carbonate reacts with water?

Answer: When sodium carbonate reacts with water, carbonic acid (H2CO3) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is formed as it is a disodium salt of carbonic acid with some alkaline property. Huge amount of heat will be produced in this reaction (exothermic in nature). Na2CO3 + 2H2O 🡢 2NaOH + H2CO3

What happens when sodium carbonate reacts with acid?

Answer: It basically reacts with weak acid like lime juice and vegetable acids and carbon dioxide is liberated. Na2CO3 (aq) + HCl (aq) 🡢 2NaCl (aq) + H2O (l) + CO2 (g)

What is meant by anhydrous sodium carbonate?

Answer: The chemical formula of sodium carbonate is Na2CO3, nH2O. After strong heating this crystal water is eliminated and anhydrous sodium carbonate is formed.

Aditi Roy

Hello, I am Aditi Ray, a chemistry SME on this platform. I have completed graduation in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta and post graduation from Techno India University with a specialization in Inorganic Chemistry. I am very happy to be a part of the Lambdageeks family and I would like to explain the subject in a simplistic way. Let's connect through LinkedIn-https://www.linkedin.com/in/aditi-ray-a7a946202

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