Cation vs. Anion: What's the Difference?

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Key Difference

Cations and Anions are the exactly opposite term is the field of chemistry, while differentiating it between them their concept is quite similar as of the protons and electrons or cathode and anode. In chemistry, elements react with each other to form new compounds, and in order to gain stability they lose or acquire electrons. The elements in their original form are called atoms, and when they lose or gain electrons to get stable than they are called. When the losing or gaining of electrons happens it never remains neutral, it has the positive or negative charged on it depending upon whether it has lost and electron or have gain an electron. The positively charged ion is known as the cation, whereas the negatively charged ion is called the anion. When an atom loses one or more electron in order to gain more stability, it becomes the positively charged ion (Cation) and has the positive sign on it denoting its ability of donating. On the other hand, when an atom gains one or more electron in order to gain more stability, it becomes the negatively charged ion (Anion) and has the negative sign denoting its ability of accepting electrons in order to gain stability.

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Comparison Chart

CationAnion
Charge The positively charged ion is known as the cation.The negatively charged ion is called the anion.
FormationWhen an atom loses one or more electron in order to gain more stability, it becomes the positively charged ion (Cation) and has the positive sign on it denoting its ability of donating.When an atom gains one or more electron in order to gain more stability, it becomes the negatively charged ion (Anion) and has the negative sign denoting its ability of accepting electrons in order to gain stability.
ElectrolysisIn electrolysis cathode attracts the positively charged cations.In electrolysis anode attracts the negatively charged anions

What is Cation?

Some of atoms in their original condition are stable just like Noble Gases, but some in order to become more stable gain or lose the electron, the atom after this sharing is called ion. Cation is one of the ions, it is the positively charged ion as it gives away or releases one or more electrons in order to gain stability. Generally the cations are formed by the metal atom, which have high-electron mobility and in order to gain stability they lose one or more electron from their valence shell.  The atomic nucleus of an atom consists of materials like electrons (negatively charged), protons (positively charged) and neutrons (neutral). In the original condition of an atom electrons and protons are present in equal numbers, although when it becomes cation with losing one or more electrons, automatically the numbers of electrons get reduced. Therefore it has more number of protons and it is positively charged so it is denoted with the positive charge. In electrolysis Cathode attracts the positively charged cations, whereas the negatively charged anions stays away from it.

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What is Anion?

Some of atoms in their original condition are stable just like Noble Gases, but some in order to become more stable gain or lose the electron, the atom after this sharing is called ion. Anion is one of the ions, it is the negatively charged ion as it accepts or takes one or more electrons in order to gain stability. Generally, anions are formed by the non-metals as they have low electron mobility and they gain electron or electrons in order to become more stable. When the atom accepts the electron, the number of electrons or negatively charged ions automatically get increased in the atomic nucleus, therefore due to the excess in number of electrons such ion has the negative charged denotation. In electrolysis anode attracts the negatively charged anions, whereas the positively charged cations stays away from it.

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Cation vs. Anion

  • The positively charged ion is known as the cation, whereas the negatively charged ion is called the anion.
  • When an atom loses one or more electron in order to gain more stability, it becomes the positively charged ion (Cation) and has the positive sign on it denoting its ability of donating. On the other hand, when an atom gains one or more electron in order to gain more stability, it becomes the negatively charged ion (Anion) and has the negative sign denoting its ability of accepting electrons in order to gain stability.
  • In electrolysis anode attracts the negatively charged anions, whereas the cathode attracts the positively charged cations.

Explanatory Video