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Polyatomic Ions

Polyatomic ions are often said to be a cross between covalent compounds and ionic compounds. Why?

Compounds that contain polyatomic ions contain both ionic bonds and covalent bonds.

For example, potassium nitrate contains an ionic bond between the potassium ion and the nitrate ion.  But the atoms of N and O that make up the polyatomic nitrate ion are held together by covalent bonds.

A polyatomic ion is a charged ion which has two or more atoms covalently bonded or of a metal complex that can be considered acting as a single unit. A polyatomic ions are charged molecules. The atoms within a polyatomic ions are usually very tightly boiund togather, so ion retains its identity within ionic compounds and over the course of many chemical reactions. Polyatomic ions are basic building blocks of many ionic compounds.

hope that helps.