If one atom, or atoms, has actually a balanced variety of electrons (negative charge) and also protons (positive charge) they room neutral overall. However, if they space not balanced, they will be charged. These charged species are called ions.

You are watching: Why do nonmetals tend to form anions

What is a cation?

A cation has much more protons 보다 electrons, consequently giving it a net hopeful charge. For a cation to form, one or an ext electrons should be lost, commonly pulled far by atoms v a more powerful affinity for them. The number of electrons lost, and so the fee of the ion, is indicated after the chemistry symbol, e.g. Silver (Ag) loser one electron to come to be Ag+, whilst zinc (Zn) loses two electrons to end up being Zn2+.



What is one anion?

An anion has much more electrons than protons, consequently providing it a net an unfavorable charge. Because that an anion to form, one or much more electrons have to be gained, commonly pulled far from other atoms v a weaker affinity because that them. The number of electrons gained, and so the charge of the ion, is shown after the chemical symbol, e.g. Chlorine (Cl) benefit one electron to come to be Cl-, whilst oxygen (O) gains two electrons to end up being O2-.


Cation vs anion chart

The main differences in between cations and anions room summarized in the table below.






Electrode attracted to

Cathode (negative)

Anode (positive)

Formed by

Metal atoms

Non-metal atoms


Sodium (Na+), steel (Fe2+), Ammonium (NH4+)

Chloride (Cl-), Bromide (Br-), Sulfate (SO42-)

Metallic atoms host some of your electrons fairly loosely. Consequently, they tend to shed electrons and form cations. Conversely, most nonmetallic atoms entice electrons much more strongly than metallic atoms, and also so obtain electrons to type anions. Therefore, when atoms from a metallic and also a nonmetallic facet combine, the nonmetallic atoms tend to draw one or an ext electrons far from the metallic atom to form ions. These oppositely charged ion then entice one other to type ionic bonds and produce ionic compounds through no overall net charge. Examples encompass calcium chloride (CaCl2), potassium iodide (KI) and also magnesium oxide (MgO).

Cation vs anion regular table

It have the right to be possible to predict whether an atom will type a cation or one anion based on its position on the periodic table. Halogens always kind anions, alkali metals and also alkaline earth metals always form cations. Most other metals type cations (e.g. Iron, silver, nickel), whilst most other nonmetals typically type anions (e.g. Oxygen, carbon, sulfur). However, some facets are qualified of creating both cations and also anions given the right conditions. One example is hydrogen, i beg your pardon may get (H-) or shed (H+) an electron, developing hydride compound such together ZnH2 (where that is one anion) and also hydron link such together H2O (where that is a cation).

Elements in team 18 the the periodic table – the “noble gases”, have tendency not to form ions because of the arrangement of your electrons which makes them normally unreactive.


Cation vs anion size

Cations and also anions come in numerous sizes across the regular table, as viewed in this video.

Utilizing ionic properties

Ionic properties can be exploited by chemists for a range of purposes. Ion-exchange chromatography for example relies on the affinity that the molecules being separated because that the stationary phase based on their charge properties to permit separation.

See more: ( Leo Howard And Olivia Holt Kissing, Jack And Kim Moments From Wasabi Forever

Ionic nature are central to the role of battery too. Batteries have two electrodes do of conductive material, the cathode i m sorry is the positive finish where the electrical existing leaves/electrons enter, and also the anode whereby the electrical present enters/ electron leave. In between the electrodes is one electrolyte fluid or gel that consists of charged corpuscle – ions. As this ionic substance reacts through the electrodes that generates electrical current. In solitary use, dry cell batteries, zinc is generally used as the anode whilst manganese dioxide is a popular choice for the electrolyte cathode. The zinc anode also acts as the battery’s container in zinc-carbon battery so together it oxidizes during use, the components can begin to leak end time.