Q:

What happens when an atom loses an electron?

A:

Quick Answer

When an atom loses an electron, its overall charge becomes more positive by one. For example, a neutral atom would have a charge of positive one after losing an electron.

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Full Answer

All atoms tend to seek to be stable, which occurs when they have a neutral charge. When atoms don't have a complete outer orbital of electrons they will have a negative or positive charge. In order to become neutral, they will seek to either gain new electrons or lose electrons through bonding. In general, metal atoms often have excess electrons and will try to donate them through ionic bonding. Non-metal atoms typically need more electrons and will either accept them from metals or share electrons with non-metals through covalent bonding.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does an atom become positively charged?

    A:

    An atom with no charge becomes positively charged when it loses an electron. When this happens, it is called a positive ion. If the atom gains an electron, the atom becomes a negative ion. In either case, the number of protons in the atom’s nucleus does not change. More than one electron can be removed from an atom to give it a positive charge of +2, +3 or more.

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  • Q:

    When does a chlorine atom become a chloride ion?

    A:

    For a chlorine atom to become a chloride ion, it must gain an electron. The chloride ion has a negative charge and is written as Cl-. Chlorine gains an electron because it has seven valence electrons, and to be a full octet, it gains an electron.

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  • Q:

    How are salt crystals formed?

    A:

    Salt crystals are formed when sodium and chlorine bond together via a shared electron and these sodium and chlorine molecules bond with other sodium and chlorine molecules. Water dissolves the connection between the sodium and chlorine atoms, but when the water evaporates, the connection can re-establish itself.

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  • Q:

    How is the periodic table organized?

    A:

    The elements in the periodic table are organized by their atomic numbers, their electron configurations and the recurring properties found in them. Elements are arranged in blocks, with elements found in that block all containing consistent properties. For instance, all alkali metals are highly reactive, and all noble gases are inert, meaning they cannot react with other elements under normal conditions.

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