Metals lose electrons to form ions, a process that typically occurs between metals and non-metals. Because metals have a very low electronegativity, they lose electrons easily to high-electronegativity non-metals.Continue Reading
Metals generally have very few electrons in their outer electron shell. Because an atom always seeks to balance out the number of electrons in each of its shells, the atoms in metals are eager to lose the lone electron in their outer shell. Whenever two outer shells come into contact, the one that needs an electron to complete its electron set easily takes the lone electron from the other atom. ChemGuide explains this phenomenon as electronegativity.
Georgia State University clarifies the nature of electronegativity, stating an atom's ultimate goal is to form a polar bond. Metals are fairly unstable elements, known for their ability to form bonds rapidly. Princeton notes an ionic bond is formed when a metal and a non-metal exchange one or more electrons. This exchange occurs because metals and non-metals are polar opposites, each reacting to the opposite charge of the other. Although it is possible for a non-metal to lose an electron to a metal, the opposite is the ideal exchange and far more likely to occur under normal circumstances.Learn more about Atoms & Molecules
Positive and negative ions are formed by gaining or losing electrons from neutral atoms. Metallic elements produce positively charged ions by losing electrons while nonmetallic elements produce negatively charged ions by gaining electrons.Full Answer >
Atoms that have gained or lost electrons are called ions. If an atom gains electrons, it is called an anion; if it loses electrons, it becomes a cation. Through the gain or loss of electrons, atoms are no longer neutral.Full Answer >
Electron sharing is the sharing of the outermost electrons between two or more atoms without the complete transfer of electrons to form ions. When atoms share electrons, a covalent bond is formed.Full Answer >
Metals tend to form positive ions because they contain fewer than four electrons in their outermost shells, making it energetically favorable for them to lose these electrons and gain the electronic structure of the nearest noble gas. Larger atoms with fewer electrons in the outermost shell lose electrons more easily.Full Answer >