Question #6b48e

1 Answer
Sep 7, 2017

Answer:

#1+#

Explanation:

When a neutral atom loses electrons, it becomes a positively charged ion, or cation, because the overall charge of an atom is given by

#color(blue)(ul(color(black)("net charge" = "no. of protons" - "no. of electrons")))#

As long as an atom has equal numbers of protons inside its nucleus and electrons surrounding its nucleus, it will be electrically neutral, .e. it will have a #0# net charge.

Now, when an atom loses an electron, the number of electrons that surround the nucleus will decrease by #1#. This means that the atom will develop an overall #1+# charge.

For example, let's say that a neutral atom starts with #n# protons inside its nucleus and #n# electrons surrounding its nucleus. This atom is neutral because

#"net charge" = n - n = 0#

When this atom loses an electron, the number of electrons will go from #n# to #n-1#.

This time, the net charge will no longer be equal to #0# because

#"net charge" = n - (n-1)#

#"net charge" = color(red)(cancel(color(black)(n))) - color(red)(cancel(color(black)(n))) + 1#

#"net charge" = 1#

At this point, the atom becomes a cation that has an overall charge of #1+#.

For a numerical example, take an atom of sodium, #"Na"#. This atom has #11# protons inside its nucleus and #11# electrons surrounding the nucleus. After it loses #1# electron, it becomes a sodium cation, #"Na"^(+)#, which has an overall positive charge of #1+#.

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry/atomic-structure-and-properties/introduction-to-compounds/a/paul-article-2