Difference Between Atom and Ion

What is an Atom?

The smallest unit of matter. It is indivisible and consists of neutrons, electrons and protons. Atoms can take part in chemical reactions. Combination of atoms together forms molecule. Always the number of protons and electrons are equal. Independent life may or may not be feasible within a solution. Nucleus of the atom is formed by protons and neutrons. Surrounding the nucleus are the electrons.

What is an Ion?

Atoms where the electrons and protons are not equal are called ions. Ions are charged particles. They can be either positively charged ions or negatively charged ions. If an atom is charged electrically it is considered an ion. If an atom contains maximum number of electrons than protons, then it is called anion. If an atom contains maximum number of protons than electrons, then it is called cation. Independent existence in a solution. When an atom gains or loses electrons, ion is formed.

To make you understand how atom and ion are different from each other, here are the some major differences between atom and ion:

Difference between Atom and Ion

The Smallest unit of element Single particle or collection of particles
Not independent in solution Is independent in solution
Atoms form molecule Ions form electrovalent bond
Electrons and protons are equal Electrons and protons are unequal
Unstable Stable

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


Why are ions created?

Ions are formed as atoms lose or gain electrons to satisfy the octet law and have complete electron shells of the outer valence. They become positively charged as they lose electrons, and are called cations. They are charged negatively when they gain electrons, and are called anions.


Do ions exist naturally?

Like-charge ions repel each other, and opposite-charge ions lure each other. Therefore, ions typically do not live on their own, but they may bind to form a crystal lattice with ions of opposite charge. The resulting compound is considered an ionic acid, and the ionic bonding is said to tie it together.


Are ions more stable than atoms?

Positive proton loads are matched by an equivalent number of electrons. Ions loose electron to reach the best noble electronic gas structure and stabilize. Yet atoms have no layer of valence built in. The ions are also more stable than the atoms.


Where are negative ions found?

Negative ions prevail in nature, particularly around waterfalls, on ocean surfing, on the beach and in mountains and forests. They are neutralizing free radicals. They are revitalizing the metabolism of cells.


What is the best definition of an atom?

An atom is a particle of matter which defines the alchemic element in a specific way. Electron is charged down negatively. The nucleus is charged positively, and comprises one or two very heavy particles called protons and neutrons.

Related Links:

Atoms and molecules Protons
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