Answer: once an atom loses an electron, it becomes a cation (positive ion). As soon as an atom benefit an electron, it i do not care an anion.

You are watching: If an atom loses an electron, it becomes a __________.

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This diagram displays the difference between a positively fee ion (cation), a neutral atom, and a negatively charged atom (anion). Source
Ions are developed when an atom loses or profit an electron. Atoms deserve to never lose or gain protons, together this would readjust the an essential identity that the atom. The all at once charge is determined by the balance between protons and also electrons. In the diagram below, the negatively charged atom is stated to have a -1 fee while the much more positively charged atom has a+1 charge.As was declared before, as soon as an atom loser an electron, it becomes a cation. What type of building materials can type cations?
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Table Salt (NaCl). Picture Source
Substances which undergo ionic bonding produce a confident cation and a an unfavorable anion i m sorry are held together by these fee attractions. Salts, such as the NaCl displayed above, space a form of solid i beg your pardon is hosted together by ionic bonding. These ions disassociate in polar solvents, such together water. This is why table salt disappear in water. In this aqueous state, the Na+ and Cl- ions begin to move about freely in the solution and also become ions. These free moving cations and also anions room the factor why this new solution is a an excellent conductor of electricity.
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Silver (Ag) Bars. Image Source
Metals, i m sorry usually type metallic binding are likewise prone come ionizing. Silver, shown above, practically always ionizes through a+1 charge. Over there metallic bonds room slightly weaker than the ionic bond before and also that the why they can sometimes lose electrons without lot trouble. The electrons in steels are also delocalized, which way that they deserve to move about freely. This makes it very an overwhelming to accurately predict what charge most metals will form. The steels with type known charges room Ag (+1), Zn (+2) and also Sc (+3).

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Periodic Table with electronegativies. Darker = higher Electronegativity. Source
To summarize, as soon as an atom loses an electron it i do not care a cation. You will generally aspects as cations top top the left-hand next of the periodic table, because these aspects have a short electronegativity. The very same logic deserve to be applied to the various other side of the regular table, wherein you will generally see aspects as anions since they have relatively high electronegativities.