What charge does the electron cloud?

1 Answer
Jan 14, 2016

What charge does the electron cloud have? Why it's negative of course.


Of course the negative charge of the electron cloud is balanced by the positive charge of the atomic nucleus for neutral molecules. Should there be an excess or deficiency of electrons, the atom will be ionic and have a net charge.

Note that it is a bit unfortunate that historically the electronic charge was designated negative. If we were doing this again today, we would designate the electronic charge as positive (and of course the nuclear charge would thus be NEGATIVE!). I mention this because I don't know how many times I've done or seen electronic calculations that had the right numerical answer but the wrong charge, all because the number of electrons was odd when it was even or even when odd.