Cations and anions

A cation is an ion that is positively charged and an anion is a negatively charged ion. Both cations and anions are types of ions . An ion is an atom or group of atoms that have an electric charge, that is, they have a difference between the number of protons and the number of electrons that make it up.

DefinitionPositively charged ionNegatively charged ion
TrainingIt is formed by loss of electronsIt is formed by gaining electrons
LoadPositive chargeNegative charge
Types of ions 

  • Mono-atomic cations
  • Polyatomic cations
  • Mono-valent cations
  • Divalent cations
  • Trivalent cations

  • Mono-atomic anions
  • Polyatomic anions
  • Monovalent anions
  • Divalent anions
  • Trivalent anions

  • Sodium ion: Na +
  • Potassium ion: K +
  • Calcium ion: Ca 2+
  • Silver ion: Ag +
  • ammonium ion: NH +

  • Chloride ion: Cl 
  • Oxygen ion: O 2-
  • Sulfide ion: S 2-
  • Sulfate ion: SO 2-
  • Hydroxyl ion: OH 

What is an anion?

An anion in chemistry is defined as an ion that is negatively charged because it has excess electrons.

How is an anion formed?

An anion is formed when it gains electrons, that is, it gains one or more negative charges.

Examples of most common anions

We present you a list of the different types of anions.

Monovalent monatomic anions: ions of a single atom with a negative charge

  • Chloride anion Cl 
  • Fluoride anion F 
  • Bromide anion Br 
  • Iodide anion I 
  • Hydride anion H 

Divalent monatomic anions: ions of a single atom with two negative charges

  • Sulfide anion S 2-
  • Oxide anion O 2-

Trivalent monatomic anions: ions of a single atom with three negative charges

  • Nitride anion N 3-
  • Phosphide anion P 3-
  • Arsenide anion As 3-

Polyatomic anions: ions of two or more atoms

  • Peroxide anion O 2-
  • Arsenate anion AsO 3-
  • Borate anion BO 3-
  • Bromate anion BrO 
  • Carbonate anion CO 2-
  • Bicarbonate anion HCO 
  • Hypochlorite anion ClO 
  • Chlorite anion ClO 
  • Chlorate anion ClO 
  • ClO 4 perchlorate anion 
  • CN cyanide anion 
  • NH 2 amide anion 
  • Cyanate anion OCN 
  • SCN thiocyanate anion 
  • Hydroxide anion OH 
  • Permanganate anion MnO 
  • Sulfate anion SO 2-
  • Sulfite anion SO 2-
  • Nitrate anion NO 
  • Nitrite anion NO 
  • Phosphate anion PO 3-
  • Acetate anion C 2 H 3 O 
  • Thiosulfate anion S 2 O 2-

What is a cation?

A cation in chemistry is defined as an ion that is positively charged because it lost electrons from its outermost shell.

How is a cation formed?

Cations are formed when they lose one or more electrons from their valence shell.

Examples of the most common cations

We present you a list of different types of cations.

Monovalent monatomic cations: ions of a single atom with a positive charge

  • Lithium Li + cation
  • Na + sodium cation
  • Potassium K + cation
  • Silver cation Ag +
  • Copper cation (I) Cu +

Divalent monatomic cations: ions of a single atom with two positive charges

  • Beryllium cation Be 2+
  • Ca 2+ calcium cation
  • Magnesium cation Mg 2+
  • Strontium cation Sr 2+
  • Barium cation Ba Ba 2+
  • Zn Zn 2+ cation
  • Chromium (II) Cr 2+ cation
  • Manganese (II) cation Mn 2+
  • Iron (II) Fe 2+ cation
  • Cobalt (II) Co 2+ cation
  • Cation copper (II) Cu 2+
  • Lead (II) Pb 2+ cation

Trivalent monatomic cations: ions of a single atom with three positive charges

  • Aluminum cation Al 3+
  • Chromium (III) Cr 3+ cation
  • Manganese cation (III) Mn 3+
  • Cation hierro (III) Fe3+
  • Cobalt (III) Co 3+ cation

Polyatomic cations: ions of two or more positively charged atoms

  • Cation mercurio (I) Hg22+
  • NH + ammonium cation
  • Hydronium cation H 3 O +

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