When the prospectors in the time of the California Gold Rush (1848-1855) searched for gold nuggets in the earth, they were able to uncover thenuggets bereason gold is an unreactive product that exists in its elepsychological state in many places. Not everyone was fortunate sufficient to uncover considerably big gold nuggets, however a variety of miners did end up being extremely affluent (of course, a huge variety of others went earlier residence broke).

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Many kind of of the aspects we recognize around perform not exist in their native form. They are so reactive that they are discovered only in compounds. These non-elemental develops are recognized as ions. Their properties are very various from those of the aspects they come from. The term comes from a Greek word definition "move" and also was first coined by Michael Faraday, who studied the activity of materials in an electrical area.


Figure (PageIndex1): Sodium loses an electron to become a cation.

Some facets lose one or more electrons in creating ions. These ions are recognized as "cations" bereason they are positively charged and also move toward the negative electrode (cathode) in an electric field. Looking at the regular table listed below, we know that the group 1 elements are all characterized by having actually one (s) electron in the external orbit;group 2 elements have actually two (s) electrons in the outer orlittle bit. These electrons are loosely attached to the atom and also can easily be removed, leaving more protons in the atom thantright here are electrons, so that the resulting ion has actually a positive charge. Cations have the right to likewise be formed from electron loss to many kind of of the transition facets.

Figure (PageIndex2): Periodic Table of Elements, notated via group numbers.

The cations are designated by the symbol for the parent element and also a plus charge as a superscript after the facet symbol—the potassium cation would certainly be indicated as (ceK^+). Keep in mind that the charge is put after the symbol and also not before it. The potassium ion is monovalent, interpretation that it has shed one electron and has a (+1) charge. The symbol for the magnesium cation would be (ceMg^2+) or (ceMg^++) to suggest that it has shed two electrons and has a (+2) charge, so the magnesium cation would be referred to as a divalent cation.

The cations are ssuggest named as the parent facet. The sodium cation is still dubbed "sodium". Often, the charge would certainly be attached for clarity, so the sodium cation could be described as "sodium one plus".

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Applications of Cations

Cations play essential functions in our everyday lives. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium ions are necessary for such processes as blood press regulation and also muscle contractivity. Calcium ions area vital part of bone structure. Sodium ions deserve to be supplied in water softeners to remove other harmful aspects. We put sodium chloride (table salt) on our food and also use it as a preservative.