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Difference between Cations and Anions

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  • Last Updated : 17 Nov, 2022
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Compounds with charged species are formed by combining metals and non-metals. The charged species are referred to as ions. These charged species can be either positively or negatively charged, referred to as cations or anions. In sodium chloride (NaCl), for example, Na exists as a cation Na+, while Cl exists as an anion Cl. Because both of them have charged opposing characteristics, they are attracted to one another and create an ionic connection.

Both anions and cations are ions. They are drawn to one another because their electrical charges are opposing. An anion repels another anion, whereas a cation repels a cation. In a cation, the number of protons exceeds the number of electrons, whereas, in an anion, the number of electrons exceeds the number of protons.

Cations and Anions

 

What are Cations?

Cations are ions with a positive charge. When a metal loses its electrons, they form. They lose one or more electrons but none of their protons. As a result, they have a net positive charge. Calcium (Ca2+), potassium (K+), and hydrogen (H+) are examples of cations.

Formation of Cations

The most common cations of the typical elements are those in which all of the valence electrons have been lost. Consider sodium, an alkali metal. In the third major energy level, it has one valence electron. The sodium ion now has an octet of electrons from the second major energy level after losing that electron. An atom and an ion of a different atom (or two separate ions) that have the same electron configuration are referred to be isoelectronic. The sodium ion and the neon atom are isoelectronic.

Cation Formation

 

Example of Cation: Sodium Ion

The ionization of the sodium atom produces a monoatomic monocation, the sodium atom. Sodium is a metal that provides the shared pair of electrons to the anion during bond breaking, giving it a positive charge. The sodium ion has a chemical formula of Na+ and an ionic radius of 0.102 nm. Sodium ions are required for a variety of physiological functions in the body, including the regulation of body fluids such as blood, nerve impulse transmission, heart activity, and other metabolic functions.

Properties of Cations

  • Cations are normally made up of metal atoms, however positive radical ions, such as ammonium ion (NH4+), can have several atoms.
  • Because they have more protons than electrons, cations are positively charged. As a result, cations have an electron deficit.
  • The ionic radius of cations is used to determine their size, and cations have a smaller radius than their parent atoms in general because they have one orbit less.
  • The smallest cation with no electron is hydrogen, which is substantially smaller than its parent atom.
  • In crystalline materials, anions take up the majority of the lattice space, leaving cations to fill in the gaps.
  • Cations are highly reactive in the gaseous state and will react with anions to generate neutral molecules. Cations, on the other hand, can exist in both liquid and solid states.
  • The cation interacts with the solvent in the liquid state to generate solvated ions, which are significantly more stable.

What are Anions?

Anions are ions with a negative charge. When a non-metal gains electrons, they form. They receive one or more electrons but keep all of their protons. They have a net negative charge as a result. Iodide (I), chlorine (Cl), and hydroxide (OH) are examples of anions.

Formation of Anion

Non-metal atoms frequently gain electrons until their outermost main energy level reaches an octet. except for neon, all of these anions are isoelectronic. The greatest number of electrons obtained in the production of anions is three-under ordinary conditions.

Anion Formation

 

Example of Anion: Chloride Ion

The chloride ion is a diatomic monoanionic produced when the chlorine atom is ionized. Chlorine is a non-metal that takes the shared pair of electrons after a bond rupture, resulting in a negative charge. The chlorine ion has a chemical formula of Cl and an ionic radius of 0.181 nm. The chloride ion is an electrolyte that is found in practically all bodily fluids.

Properties of Anions

  • Negative radical ions, such as the sulphate ion (SO4), are commonly produced from non-metals; nevertheless, negative radical ions can have several atoms.
  • Because anions contain more electrons than neutrons, they are negatively charged. As a result, anions have a lot of electrons.
  • Ions are measured by their ionic radius, and anions, in general, have a bigger radius because they contain more electrons repelling each other, resulting in a larger size than their parent atoms.
  • Because anions are larger than solids, they take up the majority of the space in the crystal.
  • Anions are highly reactive in the gaseous state and will react with cations to generate neutral molecules. Anions, on the other hand, can exist in both the liquid and solid states.
  • An anion interacts with the solvent in the liquid state to generate solvated ions, which are significantly more stable. An anion interacts with the solvent in the liquid state to generate solvated ions, which are significantly more stable.

Difference Between Anions and Cations

Cations

Anions

A positive-charged ion or charged particle with a positive (+) charge on it, is referred to as a Cation.  An anion is a negatively charged ion or a charged particle with a negative (-) charge.
The number of protons in cations is greater than the number of electrons.  The number of electrons in anions is greater than the number of protons.
Metals, in general, produce cations.  Non–metals, in general, produce anions.
In electrolysis, cations are drawn to the negatively charged electrode.  In electrolysis, anions are drawn to the positively charged electrode.
Cations absorb electrons and become neutral atoms or molecules. Anions usually lose electrons and become neutral atoms or molecules.
Ionic compounds are formed when cations establish electrostatic or ionic connections with anions. Ionic compounds are formed when anions establish electrostatic or ionic connections with cations.
Cations are much smaller than anions. Anions are often bigger than cations.
e.g.  Na+, Mg+2, etc. e.g. Cl, Br, etc.

FAQs on Cations and Anions

Question 1: Give any one difference between a Cation and an Anion.

Answer:

A cation is a positive-charged ion or charged particle with positive (+) charge on it, While, an anion is a negatively charged ion or a charged particle with a negative (-) charge.

Question 2: Why do Ions conduct Electricity?

Answer:

If a substance has charged particles that are free to move from one location to another, it can conduct electricity. Because their ions are free to travel from place to place, ionic substances conduct electricity when molten (liquid) or in an aqueous solution (dissolved in water). Because their ions are maintained in fixed places and cannot move, ionic substances cannot conduct electricity when solid.

Question 3: What are cations and anions?

Answer:

Compounds with charged species are formed by combining metals and non-metals. The charged species are referred to as ions. These charged species can be either positively or negatively charged, referred to as cation or anion. 

Question 4: Explain what is Ion Exchange.

Answer:

Ion exchange is a water treatment procedure that is typically used for water softening or demineralization, but it is also employed in processes like dealkalization, deionization, denitrification, and disinfection to remove other chemicals from the water.

Question 5: What is the use of cations and anions?

Answer:

Cations have a significant role to play in our daily lives. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium ions are required for both the control of blood pressure and the contraction of muscles. A key element in the construction of bones is the calcium ion. Other dangerous substances can be removed by water softeners using sodium ions.

When there are more electrons than protons in an atom or molecule, an ion called an anion is created. Salts, which are vital to the human body, are regularly created when anions and cations interact. These particles participate in a wide range of crucial biological processes, from the synthesis of hormones to the creation of DNA.

Question 6: What cations are responsible for water hardness?

Answer:

Calcium and Magnesium ions are responsible for Water’s Hardness. 

Question 7: Is Oxygen a Cation or an Anion?

Answer:

Oxygen is neither a cation nor an anion as it has no net charge present on it. 

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