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Animation of ionic bonding in sodium chloride. Atoms are shown with their chemical symbol centrally, surrounded by electrons in their first, second and third energy levels. Sodium (Na) has one electron in its outer shell, which is easily removed. Chlorine (Cl) has seven electrons in its outer shell, one short of a full eight, which is more stable. It is energetically favourable for chlorine to accept sodium's outer electron, forming two ions with full outer shells. The positive sodium ion (Na+) and the negative chlorine (Cl-) then attract each other electrostatically, forming an ionic bond.
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