# Question #64e44

Aug 6, 2017

A smaller cation has higher polarization as it has a smaller size.

#### Explanation:

Polarization is the distortion of the electron cloud of an ion or a molecule by an electric field.

The formula for the electrostatic force between two charges ${q}_{1}$ and ${q}_{2}$ is

$F = \frac{k {q}_{1} {q}_{2}}{d} ^ 2$

where $d$ is the distance between the charges and $k$ is a proportionality constant.

A smaller cation can get closer to the electron cloud of a nearby ion or molecule, so it can exert a greater attraction (distorting force) on those electrons.

Thus, a small cation has a greater ability to polarize nearby ions and molecules.