The ion that has the positive charge is called a cation, while the ion which has the negative charge on it is called as an anion. Secondly, the cation which is positively charged always gets attracted to the cathode (negative electrode), and the anion which is negatively charged get attract towards the anode (positive electrode).
An atom or groups of atoms in which the number of protons and electrons are unequal, which gives them either the positive charge or negative charge such atoms are called as an ion. So precisely we can say that the net electrical charge hold by the ion is the key point to differentiate between the cation and anion.
This can be explained by taking the simple and familiar example of sodium chloride (NaCl). Here sodium acts as a cation and holds the positive charge (Na+), while chloride holds the negative charge and so known as an anion (Cl-). These both formed the neutral ionic bonds by sharing their protons and electrons with each other and mainly by the attractions of the opposite charge they contain. This is mainly done to attain the stability.
From the periodic table we can easily identify the cation or the anion, just by seeing the position of an atom. Maximum metals, alkali metals, and alkaline earth metals form cations while the non-metals and halogens forms anions and exception are the noble gases. In this article, we will discuss the variation among the cation and anion, and a brief description of them.
Content: Cation Vs Anion
|Basis for Comparison||Cation||Anion|
|Meaning||An atom or molecule having more number of protons than electrons and are positively charged is called cation.||An atom or molecule having more number of electrons than protons and are negatively charged is called anion.|
|Charge||These are positively charged.||These are negatively charged.
|Formed of||Cation are formed from metal atoms.||Anion are formed from non-metals atoms.
|Compounds formed||Cation combine with the anions to form the ionic bonds.||Anion combine with the cations to form the ionic bonds.
|Electrolysis||Cation always move towards the cathode, which produces the negative charge.||Anion always move towards the anode, which produces the positive charge.
|Examples||Iron (Fe2+), Sodium (Na+), Lead (Pb2+).||Fluoride (F-), Bromide (Br-), Iodide (I-), Nitride (N3-) and Hydride (H-).|
Definition of Cation
When an atom is in the neutral state, it contains the equal number of electrons and protons. But if it donates the electrons which are negatively charged, ions are left with protons due to which it gains the positive charge. So the formation of cations takes place when an atom donate electrons.
This is done to attain the noble gas configuration. At the time of electrolysis, cations are attracted towards the cathode, which is negatively charged. Most metals forms cations. The word cation is derived from the Greek word ‘kata‘, which means down. A cation containing net positive charge is indicated with a superscript ‘+’ after the chemical formula like NH4+.
Definition of Anion
Such ions which hold the number of electrons than protons, they attain the negative charge. Anions can be monovalent or bivalent. Monovalent are such ions which can combine with the single hydrogen ion like chloride ions Cl-, bromide Br-, iodide I-.
Anions are attracted towards anode which is positively charged at the time of electrolysis. Most non-metals form the anion through reduction or by polar compounds through ionization. The word anion is derived from the Greek word ‘ano‘ which means up. An anion having the net positive charge is indicated with a superscript ‘-‘ after the chemical formula like OH-, NO3-, O2-.
Key Differences Between Cation and Anion
Given below are the essential points which differentiate the cations to that of anions:
- The net charge gained by an ion of an atom or atoms is the fundamental phenomena to separate the and anion. So an atom or molecule having more number of protons than electrons and are positively charged is called cation, while an atom or molecule having more number of electrons than protons and are negatively charged is called anion.
- Cations are formed from metal atoms and are positively charged, on the other hand, anions are formed from non-metals atoms and are negatively charged.
- Cations combine with the anions to form the ionic bonds and vice versa. On electrolysis, cations always move towards the cathode, which produces negative charge and anions always move towards the anode, which produces the positive charge.
- Iron (Fe2+), Sodium (Na+), Lead (Pb2+) are few examples of cations, while Fluoride (F-), Bromide (Br-), Iodide (I-), Nitride (N3-) and Hydride (H-) are examples of anions.
Cation and anion are among the common words of the chemistry. But if we go in depth, there are many other similar terms too, like neutrons, protons, electrons. These are the subatomic particles of an atom, which is the most tin particle and is invisible to the naked eyes. Ions are formed of such atom or group of atoms.
As we discussed above that the ion tends to be stable if it has the equal number of protons and electrons, but when it loses or gains the protons or electrons, it gains the positive or negative charge and is said as cations or anions. In this article, we discussed the ions which differentiated by net charge holds by them.