[Solved]- MgCl2 Ionic or Covalent Bond?


We all know that Atoms combine either by transfer of electrons or by sharing electrons between the atoms. Atoms are held together in a molecule by a force of attraction known as a chemical bond. A chemical bond is a binding force between two or more atoms present in a molecule.

Is MgCl2 Ionic or Covalent Bond?

MgCl2 is certainly an ionic bond. It is a bond that exists between a metal and a nonmetal. During the formation of magnesium chloride, two outermost electrons are transferred from the magnesium atom to the chlorine atoms. In this molecule, magnesium with atomic number 12 is metal whereas chlorine with atomic number 17 is a non-metal.

You should always remember, no matter which molecule is– either ionic or covalent, atoms always join together for a molecule to achieve stability with minimum energy. As both the atoms magnesium as well as chlorine want to achieve stability, so they join to become a molecule magnesium chloride MgCl2.

Why do atoms combine to form molecules?

Atoms combine to form molecules so as to attain chemical stability. The maximum number of electrons present in the outermost orbit of a stable atom is 8 except Helium which has two electrons.

If an atom has 8 electrons in its outermost orbit, it acquires a stable structure and does not combine with the atoms of any other element.

Most of the atoms known to us have electrons less than 8 in number in their outermost shells. Therefore, they are chemically unstable, and so they tend to combine with other atoms to complete their octet and attain stability.

All the inert or noble gases, except helium have 8 electrons in their outermost orbits. This condition is called an octet. Only helium has 2 electrons which have only one orbit with a maximum capacity of 2 electrons. This condition is called duplet. Therefore, all inert gases are chemically stable and do not combine with the atoms of any other element.

Formation of MgCl2 Bond

Ionic Bond or Electrovalent bonds are formed when a transfer of electrons takes place between the atoms of metals and non-metals to form molecules.

Metallic atoms have electrons varying from 1 to 3 in their outermost shell, so they donate or lose these electrons to other atoms in order to become chemically stable by making their next complete inner shell their outermost shell. After donating their valence electrons, they are left with a greater number of protons and a lesser number of electrons.

Therefore the atoms no more remain neutral. They become positively charged.

On the other hand, non-metallic atoms have electrons varying from 4 to 7 in their outermost shell. So, they accept or gain electrons from other atoms in order to complete their outermost shell and become stable. After gaining electrons these atoms have an excess of electrons over protons, therefore they become negatively charged.

These charged atoms are called ions.

  • An atom that becomes charged by losing or gaining electrons is called an ion.
  • A positively charged ion is called a cation and a negatively charged or is called an anion.
  • A group of com carrying a charge is known as polyatomic lon.

The two oppositely charged ions are held together in the molecule by a strong electrostatic force of attraction which leads to the formation of an electrovalent bond. These ions balance each other and therefore the molecule as a whole remains neutral.

The chemical bond formed due to the complete transfer of electrons from one atom to another is called an electrovalent or ionic bond. The compounds formed by the ions are called ionic compounds.

Why MgCl2 ionic bond?

You should always remember, The energy required to remove an electron from an atom is known as ionization and the energy required to accept electrons to complete the outermost shell is known as electron affinity energy.

The real purpose of the formation of the MgCl2 molecule is to achieve stability. If there is instability and high energy. then there is no chance of becoming a molecule.

We always need to use a very little amount of energy to expel atoms from the magnesium and very little energy to join them to the chlorine atom. Magnesium has very low ionization energy and chlorine has high electron affinity. So, it is easy to become a molecule by losing and gaining electrons

Stability is achieved when the outermost shell of an atom contains 8 atoms. In scientific language, it is called completing an octet.

Electronic configuration of Magnesium is K,L,M=2,8,2. The outermost electrons are two. In each atom of chlorine has seven outermost electrons as it needs one more electron to complete its outermost octet. Its electronic configuration is K,L,M= 2,8,7.


In MgCl2, there is one atom of magnesium and two atoms of chlorine. Magnesium gives two outermost electrons to two chlorine atoms.

Why MgCl2 Ionic bond

Thus, both magnesium and chlorine will final configuration with 8 electrons in the outermost shell. It becomes

  • Magnesium=k,l=2,8
  • Chlorine=ki LM=2,8,8

You can see the diagram below to understand the representation more accurately.

Now an atomic number is equal to the number of protons. Protons are positive charge and the atomic number of magnesium is 12. So, the number of protons is 12.

The number of electrons in magnesium becomes less as they give them to chlorine. Initially, before donating electrons, the number of electrons is equal to the number of protons.

Magnesium has now more protons. It means atom become a positive charge.

In the case of chlorine, its atomic number is 17 and the number of protons is also 17. After gaining electrons from the magnesium atom. The number of electrons is now more than the number of protons. The atom becomes negatively charged.

type of chemical bond is present in MgCl2?

Now, the magnesium atom becomes a positive charge whereas chlorine becomes negatively charged. Just as in the case of magnets positive and negative attract each other, this attraction is a strong electrostatic force that combines atoms together and makes it stronger than the covalent bond. This is how magnesium chloride is an ionic bond not a covalent.

Question Answers of MgCl2 Ionic Or Covalent?

What is the proper name for MgCl2?

The proper IUPAC name for MgCl2 is magnesium dichloride. It is a compound in which magnesium atoms combine with two chlorine atoms to form an ionic bond.

Why is MgCl2 called magnesium chloride?

Magnesium chloride is recognized as a binary compound in which a metal is combined with a nonmetal. Magnesium act as a cation whereas two chlorine atoms act as an anion.

According to the rules to write the name of MgCl2, the metal name appears first Mg, then to write non-metal the chlorine. It becomes magnesium chlorine. On replacing the ending with ide, it becomes chloride.

Magnesium belongs to group 2 of the periodic table and has the outermost two electrons to donate. Each chlorine represents group 17 and requires one electron. This balance plus and minus of magnesium as well as chlorine so the name for magnesium chloride is MgCl2.

Why is MgCl2 a covalent character?

Magnesium chloride shows a covalent character due to the involvement of a high electronegative chlorine element present in it. Chlorine being highly electronegativity behavior of 3.16, strongly attract electrons nearby, shift nucleus closer than magnesium. Thus, highly covalent character generates polarity even after the formation of Bond.

Which is more covalent NaCl or MgCl2?

Both the ionic compound NaCl and MgCl2 have the same anion but different cation elements. Sodium belongs to group 1 of the periodic table whereas magnesium belongs to group 2.

As we move from left to right in a periodic table atomic size decreases. This justifies that size of magnesium is smaller than sodium. The smaller the size of the cation greater is the covalent character. Thus, magnesium chloride is more covalent than NaCl.

is mgCl2 ionic or molecular compound?

Mg chloride is an ionic compound, not a molecular or covalent compound.

Is MgCl2 stronger than NaCl?

The charge of magnesium is greater than sodium. Magnesium loses two-electron to gain stability whereas sodium loses only a single electron. This also means that magnesium becomes more positive as it has more protons than electrons comparatively. Therefore, magnesium chloride is stronger than NaCl.

Is MgCl2 acidic or basic?

NaCl dissolves in water to form a neutral solution with a pH value of 7 whereas magnesium chloride has a small degree of covalency and it undergoes partial hydrolysis in water to form a weakly acidic solution of approximate pH 6.5.

Why Magnesium chloride has no overall charge?

The MgCl2 is a neutral compound having overall no charge as positive charges are balanced by negative charges. Both of the atoms participate in bonding to complete the outermost octet.

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