Atom vs. Ion

Difference Between Atom and Ion

The atom is the smallest unit that can form atomic bonds. And the ion is any molecule responsible for positive and negative charges. The ion can be made up either of several atoms or a single atom. Atoms are one of their kind and very unique. There are two types of ions, positively charged ions (cations) and negatively charged ions (anions).

The main difference between the atom and ion is the charge. The atom is electrically neutral while the ion is electrically charged. The number of protons as well as electrons is equal in case of an atom, but the same in an ion is always different. The maximum number of positive charges that an ion can have is 6. And the maximum number of negative charges one can have is 3. This happens because of two reasons and one is due to the loss of electrons. And the second one is due to the increase in the number of electrons results in the formation of negative ions. If you take atoms, they always have atomic orbital and ions have atomic orbital or molecular orbital. The atoms can be found only in the gas phase but the ions can be found in the gas phase and the liquid phase as well as in the solid phase.

 

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