# Question #f092a

Apr 21, 2016

Metals that donate electrons become positive ions, meaning they attract and stick to negative ions (atoms which have gained electrons).

#### Explanation:

Electrons are little negative particles you find around the atom. There are normally the same number of protons and electrons, which means there is no overall charge, except in ions.

Ions are when an atom has gained or lost electrons, and so has a positive or negative net charge.

Usually, for example, if you had $a$ protons and $b$ electrons, protons with a $+ 1$ charge and electrons with a $- 1$ charge, the total charge would be

$C = \left(+ 1\right) a + \left(- 1\right) b = a - b$,

which is $0$ if there are the same number of protons and electrons, or $a = b$, but when you change $b$ by gaining or losing electrons, then the total charge becomes something, like $+ 2$ or $- 1$.

If a metal donates (gives away) electrons, it loses negative charge, so becomes less negative. Less negative is the same as more positive, because they are simply opposites. Therefore, a metal donating electrons becomes a positive ion.

If it donates $1$ electron, it becomes a $1 +$ ion. $2$ electrons means a $2 +$ ion. $3$ is $3 +$, and so on.

Positive ions can also be called cations, and negative ions are anions.