What net charge will an atom that loses one electron have?

1 Answer
Jun 18, 2017



The answer is actually given to you by the question--you know that when potassium becomes an ion, it loses #1# electron.

The resulting ion will thus have #1# electron fewer surrounding the nucleus than the number of protons located inside the nucleus #-># it will have a #1+# charge.

As you know, the net charge of an atom is determined by the ratio that exists between the number of electrons that surround the nucleus and the number of protons located inside the nucleus.

A neutral atom has equal numbers of electrons and protons, and hence a #0# net charge.

Now, when an atom loses electrons, the number of protons exceeds the number of electrons #-># the atom develops a positive charge and becomes a cation.

When an atom gains electrons, the number of electrons exceeds the number of protons #-># the atom develops a negative charge and becomes an anion.