Cation vs. Anion: What’s The Difference Between Cation And Anion?

What are the differences between cations and anions? In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of each, and help you understand the key differences between these two types of ions.
Cation vs. Anion: 7 Key Differences, Pros & Cons, Examples

Cation vs. Anion: If an atom has a balanced number of electrons and protons, it means they are neutral, but if the numbers of electrons and protons are not balanced, they are charged. These charged species are known as ions. Which can be either a cation or an anion. The main difference between cation and anion is that a cation has a positive charge while an anion has a negative charge.

Let’s take a closer look at Anion versus Cations

ChargeCations have a positive charge; during anion negative
ElementCations are metal, while anions are non-metal
ElectronicsCation gain electrons while anion loses an electron
RepulsionAn anion repels another anion, while a cation repels another cation

What Is a Cation?

What Is a Cation? If we look at the cation meaning, it is an ionic species which possesses a positive charge. This is also the main difference between cation and anion because anion has a negative charge. The word "cation" is a Greek word which means "Going Down". This term was developed by scientist Faraday and Whewell. The sign of the cation is "+", which is placed after the symbol. For example, a potassium atom loses one electron and thus has a 1+ charge. This positive charge is due to the loss of electrons by an atom, as it gains the positive charge when there is more proton in the nucleus than electrons. There are many cations that we use in our daily lives as well. And some of them are very essential for our health, like sodium, iron, magnesium potassium. Which plays an important role in maintaining good health.

If we look at the cation meaning, it is an ionic species which possesses a positive charge. This is also the main difference between cation and anion because anion has a negative charge. The word “cation” is a Greek word which means “Going Down”. This term was developed by scientist Faraday and Whewell. The sign of the cation is “+”, which is placed after the symbol. For example, a potassium atom loses one electron and thus has a 1+ charge. This positive charge is due to the loss of electrons by an atom, as it gains the positive charge when there is more proton in the nucleus than electrons. There are many cations that we use in our daily lives as well. And some of them are very essential for our health, like sodium, iron, magnesium potassium. Which plays an important role in maintaining good health.

👉  Evaluation vs. Analysis: What is the difference between Evaluation and Analysis?

What Is an Anion? 

What Is an Anion? If we look at the anion meaning, it is an iconic species which possesses a negative charge. If we compare cation versus anion size, the anion is larger because they have extra electrons around them. Sometimes atoms need to gain an electron to make themselves stable. This gaining electron is the reason behind its negative charge. Word "Anion" is basically a Greek word which means "Going Up". This term was also developed by Faraday and then protons. This is because the atom gains electrons from another atom to get stable. Anions are present in nature in many different ways. Most negative ions are naturally found in places like mountains, beaches, and near waterfalls. Because the evaporation of water can produce negative ions leaving behind a positive charge in water. These naturally occurring anions are also known as "Longevity elements", as these are able to absorb micro particles in the air and remove bacteria and dust.

If we look at the anion meaning, it is an iconic species which possesses a negative charge. If we compare cation versus anion size, the anion is larger because they have extra electrons around them. Sometimes atoms need to gain an electron to make themselves stable. This gaining electron is the reason behind its negative charge. Word “Anion” is basically a Greek word which means “Going Up”. This term was also developed by Faraday and then protons. This is because the atom gains electrons from another atom to get stable. Anions are present in nature in many different ways. Most negative ions are naturally found in places like mountains, beaches, and near waterfalls. Because the evaporation of water can produce negative ions leaving behind a positive charge in water. These naturally occurring anions are also known as “Longevity elements”, as these are able to absorb micro particles in the air and remove bacteria and dust.

👉  Micro USB vs. Mini USB: What's the difference between Micro and Mini USB?

 7 Key Differences Between Cation and Anion

ComponentsCationAnion
DefinitionA cation can be referred to as a species or group of an atom which has a positive chargeAnion can be referred to as an iconic species which possesses a negative charge
EtymologyThe word cation originated from the Greek word “Kata”, which means “down”The word anion originated from the Greek word “Ano”, which means “Up”
ChargeCations possess a positive charge because they lose one or more of their electors, which makes more protons in their nucleus than an electronIn anions, the atom gains electrons to make itself stable. The negative charge comes due to the presence of more electrons within the nucleus than protons
Electric FieldIn the electric field, the cations are attracted towards the negative terminalIn the electric field, the anions are attracted towards the positive terminal
ReactionsCations react with anions to result in the formation of neutral moleculesAnions react with cations to result in the formation of neutral molecules
AtomsThe formation of positive species, cations take place from the metal atomsThe formation of negative species, anions, takes place from non-metal atoms
Compound FormationIonic compounds are formed through cations and anions’ electrostatic establishment or iconic connection.Compound formation takes place when the anion establishes an ionic or electrostatic connection with cations.

Cation vs. Anion Similarities

  • Whether it is a cation or anion, both forms bonds known as ionic bonds
  • Both cation and anion are attracted to each other due to their opposite charges. And they also form ionic compounds.
👉  Starch vs. Glycogen vs. Cellulose: What is the difference between Starch and Glycogen and Cellulose?

Cation vs. Anion Examples

Cation Examples

  • Sodium (Na+)
  • Lead (Pb2+)
  • Iron (Fe2+)

Anion Examples

  • Sulfide (S2-)
  • Oxide (O2-)
  • Bromide (Br-)
  • Hydride (H-)

Cation vs. Anion Pros and Cons

Cation Pros and Cons

Cation Pros and Cons

Pros of Cation

  • Various cations play an important role in our daily life, like sodium, magnesium and potassium.
  • Calcium ion, a cation, is essential for bone structure and regulates blood pressure.

Cons of Cation

  • Higher exposure to lead, a cation, can result in fatigue, weakness and brain and kidney damage. Very high exposure can also lead to death.
  • Sodium, a cation, if added to the diet in large amounts, can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and other heart diseases.

Anion Pros and Cons

Anion Pros and Cons

Pros of Anion

  • Anions are essential to maintain life, as they have the ability to absorb microparticles in the air and remove bacteria and dust.
  • Anions are also known as the “Longevity element”, as these are very important to live healthily.

Cons of Anion

  • Lack of access to anions can change the body’s chemistry. These changes can lead to physical fatigue, anxiety and depression.
  • Anions like sulfate, phosphate, nitrate and fluoride may present in various concentrations within the wastewater and cause a toxic risk to the aquatic system.

Comparison Chart

What are the differences between cations and anions? In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of each, and help you understand the key differences between these two types of ions.

Comparison Video

Cation vs. Anion: Definition, Explanation, & Examples

Conclusion

Both cation and anion are the types of ions which possess different electric charges. Both of these ions attract each other and also form a bond. But if we talk about cation Vs. Anion differences, these both show different behavior is the electric field. As cations move toward the negative terminal in the electric field, while anions move towards the positive terminal in an electric field. Both cations and anions are found in nature and provide a lot of benefits. Cations like potassium and magnesium help in making bones stronger. And anions have the ability to absorb all the bacteria and pollutants from the air. If we look at cation versus anion stability, both are unstable and have to gain or lose electrons to get stability, which is the reason behind their positive and negative charge.

Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Difference 101
      Logo