The Structures of Ionic Crystals

Advertisements
Advertisements

Related Posts:


An image shows a top-view of a layer of blue spheres arranged in a sheet lying atop another sheet that is the same except the spheres are green. The second sheet is offset just a bit so that the spheres of the top sheet lie in the grooves of the second sheet. A third sheet composed of purple spheres lies at the bottom. The spaces created between the spheres in each layer are labeled “Octahedral holes” and “Tetrahedral holes.”
Figure 1. Cations may occupy two types of holes between anions: octahedral holes or tetrahedral holes. Source: OpenStax Chemistry 2e

The Structures of Ionic Crystals (OpenStax Chemistry 2e)

Ionic crystals consist of two or more different kinds of ions that usually have different sizes. The packing of these ions into a crystal structure is more complex than the packing of metal atoms that are the same size.

Most monatomic ions behave as charged spheres, and their attraction for ions of opposite charge is the same in every direction. Consequently, stable structures for ionic compounds result (1) when ions of one charge are surrounded by as many ions as possible of the opposite charge and (2) when the cations and anions are in contact with each other. Structures are determined by two principal factors: the relative sizes of the ions and the ratio of the numbers of positive and negative ions in the compound.

In simple ionic structures, we usually find the anions, which are normally larger than the cations, arranged in a closest-packed array. (Additional electrons attracted to the same nucleus make anions larger and fewer electrons attracted to the same nucleus make cations smaller when compared to the atoms from which they are formed.) The smaller cations commonly occupy one of two types of holes (or interstices) remaining between the anions. The smaller of the holes is found between three anions in one plane and one anion in an adjacent plane. The four anions surrounding this hole are arranged at the corners of a tetrahedron, so the hole is called a tetrahedral hole. The larger type of hole is found at the center of six anions (three in one layer and three in an adjacent layer) located at the corners of an octahedron; this is called an octahedral hole. Figure 1 illustrates both of these types of holes.

Depending on the relative sizes of the cations and anions, the cations of an ionic compound may occupy tetrahedral or octahedral holes, as illustrated in Figure 2. Relatively small cations occupy tetrahedral holes, and larger cations occupy octahedral holes. If the cations are too large to fit into the octahedral holes, the anions may adopt a more open structure, such as a simple cubic array. The larger cations can then occupy the larger cubic holes made possible by the more open spacing.

A diagram of three images is shown. In the first image, eight stacked cubes, with purple spheres at each corner, that make up one large cube are shown. The bottom left cube is different. It has green spheres at each corner and has four orange and six light purple spheres located on the faces of the cube. Labels below this structure read “Tetrahedral hole” and “Cation radius is about 22.5 to 41.4 percent of the anion radius. In the second image, eight stacked cubes, with alternating orange and green spheres at each corner, make up one large cube that is shown. The bottom left cube has darker lines that connect the spheres together. Labels below this structure read “Octahedral hole” and “Cation radius is about 41.4 to 73.2 percent of the anion radius. In the third image, eight stacked cubes, with purple spheres at each corner and light purple spheres on their interior faces, make up one large cube that is shown. Labels below this structure read “Cubic hole” and “Cation radius is about 73.2 to 100 percent of the anion radius.”
Figure 2. A cation’s size and the shape of the hole occupied by the compound are directly related. Source: OpenStax Chemistry 2e

There are two tetrahedral holes for each anion in either an HCP or CCP array of anions. A compound that crystallizes in a closest-packed array of anions with cations in the tetrahedral holes can have a maximum cation:anion ratio of 2:1; all of the tetrahedral holes are filled at this ratio. Examples include Li2O, Na2O, Li2S, and Na2S. Compounds with a ratio of less than 2:1 may also crystallize in a closest-packed array of anions with cations in the tetrahedral holes, if the ionic sizes fit. In these compounds, however, some of the tetrahedral holes remain vacant.

The ratio of octahedral holes to anions in either an HCP or CCP structure is 1:1. Thus, compounds with cations in octahedral holes in a closest-packed array of anions can have a maximum cation:anion ratio of 1:1. In NiO, MnS, NaCl, and KH, for example, all of the octahedral holes are filled. Ratios of less than 1:1 are observed when some of the octahedral holes remain empty.

In a simple cubic array of anions, there is one cubic hole that can be occupied by a cation for each anion in the array. In CsCl, and in other compounds with the same structure, all of the cubic holes are occupied. Half of the cubic holes are occupied in SrH2, UO2, SrCl2, and CaF2.

Different types of ionic compounds often crystallize in the same structure when the relative sizes of their ions and their stoichiometries (the two principal features that determine structure) are similar.

Source:

Flowers, P., Theopold, K., Langley, R., & Robinson, W. R. (2019, February 14). Chemistry 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/books/chemistry-2e

Advertisements
Advertisements

Related Research

Research Article: Crystal structure of a methimazole-based ionic liquid

Date Published: December 01, 2015 Publisher: International Union of Crystallography Author(s): Jamie C. Gaitor, Manuel Sanchez Zayas, Darrel J. Myrthil, Frankie White, Jeffrey M. Hendrich, Richard E. Sykora, Richard A. O’Brien, John T. Reilly, Arsalan Mirjafari. http://doi.org/10.1107/S2056989015022136 Abstract: The structure of 1-methyl-2-(prop-2-en-1-ylsulfan­yl)-1H-imidazol-3-ium bromide, C7H11N2S+·Br−, has monoclinic (P21/c) symmetry. In the crystal, the components are linked … Continue reading

Research Article: Crystal structure of di­methyl­formamidium bis­(tri­fluoro­methane­sulfon­yl)amide: an ionic liquid

Date Published: September 01, 2016 Publisher: International Union of Crystallography Author(s): Allan Jay P. Cardenas, Molly O’Hagan. http://doi.org/10.1107/S2056989016012251 Abstract: The cation and anion of the title salt are linked by an O—H⋯N hydrogen bond and a C—H⋯O inter­action, resulting in a high viscosity and a crystallization temperature slightly lower than ambient temperature. Partial Text A … Continue reading

Research Article: (±)-2-Methyl­piperazin-1-ium perchlorate

Date Published: August 01, 2010 Publisher: International Union of Crystallography Author(s): Cong-Hu Peng. http://doi.org/10.1107/S160053681002862X Abstract: In the title compound, C5H13N2+·ClO4−, the monoprotonated piperazine ring adopts a chair conformation. In the crystal structure, cations and anions are linked by inter­molecular N—H⋯O and N—H⋯N hydrogen bonds into layers parallel to (01). Partial Text For the properties of … Continue reading

Research Article: Isonicotinium hydrogen sulfate

Date Published: October 01, 2009 Publisher: International Union of Crystallography Author(s): Li-Zhuang Chen. http://doi.org/10.1107/S1600536809034916 Abstract: The crystal structure of the title compound, C6H6NO2+·HSO4−, is stabilized by inter­molecular N—H⋯O and O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds. Partial Text For background to simple mol­ecular–ionic crystals containing organic cations and acidic anions (1:1 molar ratio), see: Czupiński et al. (2002 ); … Continue reading