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Formation of Ions

An atom, as a whole, is electrically neutral. When an atom loses or gains one or more valence electrons, an ion is formed.
  1. When an atom loses one or more valence electrons, it becomes a positively charged species. This positively charged species is called a cation. A cation is smaller than its parent atom.
     
    For example, a sodium atom loses an electron and becomes a sodium ion (Na+).
     
    Description: 21503.png
  2. When an atom gains one or more valence electrons, it becomes a negatively charged species. This negatively charged species is called an anion. An anion is larger than its parent atom.
     
    For example, a chlorine atom gains an electron and becomes a chloride ion (Cl-).
     
    Cl + e Description: 24189.jpg Cl

Elements which give up one or more electrons readily are said to be electropositive (e.g., all metals). Similarly, elements which take up one or more electrons readily are said to be electronegative (e.g., 16th and 17th group elements).

 





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