Is LiF Ionic or Covalent? (And Why?)

Is LiF Ionic or Covalent

LiF is an ionic compound because when the metal combines with nonmetal, it usually forms an ionic compound. Here, Li is a metal and F is a nonmetal. So when they combine, it forms an ionic compound.

Well, now you have got to know that LiF is an ionic compound, but let me explain the in-depth reason why LiF is an ionic compound.

If you are a visual learner like me, then here is a short one minute video for you.

Why is LiF an ionic compound?

As mentioned above, you can simply remember that when the metal combines with nonmetal, the bond between them is an ionic bond.

Here in LiF, the Li atom is a metal and the F atom is a nonmetal.

Hence the bond between them is an ionic bond.

How does the ionic bond form between Li and F?

In LiF, there are two atoms;
Li and F.

About Lithium (Li):

Lithium atom have 3 electrons.

The electrons arrangement in Lithium (Li) is 2, 1.

So the outermost orbit of a Lithium atom has 1 electron.

Now Lithium is a metal and the metals are highly electropositive (that means they have the tendency to lose electrons and become positive ions.)

lithium ion

Hence during the chemical reaction, the Lithium atom will lose 1 electron to form a stable octet.

About Fluorine (F):

Fluorine atom have 9 electrons.

The electrons arrangement in Fluorine (F) is 2, 7.

So the outermost orbit of Fluorine atom has 7 electrons.

Now Fluorine is a nonmetal and the nonmetals are highly electronegative (that means they have the tendency to gain electrons and become negative ions.)

fluorine ion

Hence during the chemical reaction, the Fluorine atom will gain 1 electron to form a stable octet.

What happens when Li and F combine?

When Li and F combine with each other, the electron transfer takes place from Lithium atom to Fluorine atom (i.e from Li to F).

In other words, the Lithium atom (Li) loses 1 electron and the Fluorine atom (F) gains 1 electron.

Due to this, Lithium becomes a positive ion (Li+) and Fluorine becomes a negative ion (F).

Now because of the positive charge of Lithium ion and negative charge of Fluorine ion, the electrostatic force of attraction is produced between them.

lif

This electrostatic force between Lithium ion and Fluorine ion results in an ionic bond between them.

Hence, LiF is an ionic compound.

I hope you have understood the reason why LiF is an ionic compound.

Check out other compounds to see whether they are ionic or covalent;
Is MgSO4 Ionic or Covalent?
Is LiCl Ionic or Covalent?
Is H2 Ionic or Covalent?
Is CF4 Ionic or Covalent?
Is MgF2 Ionic or Covalent? 

Author

Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online chemistry learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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