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GCSE: Classifying Materials

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How to tell if something is ionic

  1. 1 Ionic compounds have strong electrostatic attractions between their positive and negative ions. These take a lot of energy to break, so will have a very high melting and boiling point.
  2. 2 Ionic compounds can conduct electricity when dissolved in solution as their ions are free to move and carry charge. When they are solids, however, their ions are held in a fixed lattice so they cannot move and conduct electricity.
  3. 3 Ionic compounds are soluble in polar solutions like water. They are insoluble in organic solvents like cyclohexane.
  4. 4 Ionic compounds all form crystal salts. If these are hydrated they will often be brightly coloured. If they are not hydrated they will usually be transparent or white.
  5. 5 Ionic compounds are made from metal cations bonding to non-metal anions in a giant lattice.

How to tell if something is a giant covalent

  1. 1 Giant covalent compounds are held together by incredibly strong covalent bonds. These take a lot of energy to break, so will have an incredibly high melting and boiling point.
  2. 2 Giant covalent compounds do not have anything to carry charge (such as ions or delocalised electrons) so will not conduct electricity. The exception to this rule is graphite, as this has delocalised electrons so can conduct.
  3. 3 Giant covalent compounds are insoluble in both polar and non-polar solvents. This is because their strong covalent bonds are too strong to be broken by the solvent.
  4. 4 The three main forms (allotropes) of carbon that are giant covalent compounds are diamond (a beautifully shiny rock), graphite (which looks like the tiles on our roofs) and fullerines. Fullerines have a “football” shape.
  5. 5 Apart from allotropes of carbon, the most commonly occurring giant covalent compound that crops up in exams is SiO2.

How to tell if something is a simple covalent

  1. 1 Simple covalent compounds are held together by weak van der Waals forces. These take little energy to break, so have a very low melting and boiling point.
  2. 2 Simple covalent compounds do not have anything that can carry charge (like ions or delocalised electrons), so they cannot conduct.
  3. 3 Simple covalent compounds are soluble in non-polar solvents, and insoluble in polar solvents like water.
  4. 4 Due to their low melting and boiling point, most simple covalent compounds are liquids or gases at room temperature. The halogens will give coloured gases- Cl is pale green, Br is orange, I is an almost black solid which sublimes to a purple gas.
  5. 5 Simple covalent compounds are made from a non-metal bonding to a non-metal.

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  1. Examine the different methods of scientific communication

    This shows they are reliable and can be used as secondary evidence. Another reason why it is a good method of communication is because the results and notes are made during the experiment, this means all the information is correct. There is not bias in this method this is because it only contains the findings that have been found, this makes it a primary result. The second method of scientific communication I will be investigating is newspapers. Newspapers are used to show findings to the public, these findings can be very different to the actual results.

    • Word count: 1130

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