Skip to main content
Select Source:

cation

cation (kăt´ī´ən), atom or group of atoms carrying a positive charge. The charge results because there are more protons than electrons in the cation. Cations can be formed from a metal by oxidation (see oxidation and reduction), from a neutral base (see acids and bases) by protonation, or from a polar compound by ionization. Cationic species include Na+, Mg++, and NH4+. The cations of the transition elements have characteristic colors in water solution. Salts are made up of cations and anions. See ion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation

"cation." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation A positive ion, i.e. an atom, or complex of atoms, that has lost one or more electrons and is left with an overall positive electric charge, e.g. Na+, Mg2+, NH4+. The name is derived from the fact that when an electric current is passed through a conducting solution the positive ions present in the solution move towards the cathode (the negative electrode). Compare ANION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

"cation." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cat·i·on / ˈkatˌīən; -ˌīˌän/ • n. Chem. a positively charged ion, i.e., one that would be attracted to the cathode in electrolysis. The opposite of anion. DERIVATIVES: cat·i·on·ic / ˌkatīˈänik/ adj.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-0

"cation." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation (kat-I-ŏn) n. a positively charged ion, which moves towards the cathode (negative electrode) when an electric current is passed through the solution containing it. Compare anion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

"cation." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation An ion that carries a positive electrical charge (e.g. the metallic element of salt compounds). A cation can combine with certain anions (which have negative charges).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-0

"cation." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation An ion that carries a positive electrical charge (e.g. the metallic element of salt compounds). A cation can combine with certain anions (which have negative charges).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-1

"cation." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation (electr.) a positive ion moving towards the cathode during electrolysis. XIX. — Gr. katión, f. CATA- 1 + ION; cf. CATHODE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-1

"cation." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation A positively charged ion, such as the sodium ion (Na+). Compare anion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-2

"cation." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation Positive ion that is attracted to the cathode during electrolysis.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation

"cation." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cation Chemical term for a positively charged ion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

"cation." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cation

cationBrian, cyan, Gaian, Geminian, Hawaiian, ion, iron, Ixion, lion, Lyon, Mayan, Narayan, O'Brien, Orion, Paraguayan, prion, Ryan, scion, Uruguayan, Zion •andiron •gridiron, midiron •dandelion • anion • Bruneian •cation, flatiron •gowan, Palawan, rowen •anthozoan, bryozoan, Goan, hydrozoan, Minoan, protozoan, protozoon, rowan, Samoan, spermatozoon •Ohioan • Chicagoan • Virgoan •Idahoan •doyen, Illinoisan, IroquoianEwan, Labuan, McEwan, McLuhan, Siouan •Saskatchewan • Papuan • Paduan •Nicaraguan • gargantuan •carbon, chlorofluorocarbon, graben, hydrocarbon, Laban, radiocarbon •ebon • Melbourne • Theban •gibbon, ribbon •Brisbane, Lisbon •Tyburn •auburn, Bourbon •Alban • Manitoban • Cuban •stubborn •Durban, exurban, suburban, turban, urban

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cation." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cation." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

"cation." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Cation

Cation

A cation is any atom or group of atoms that has a net positive charge. While matter is electrically neutral overall, ionic compounds are matter composed of positively and negatively charged particles called ions any atom or group of atoms with an overall electrical charge. According to the laws of physics, opposite charges attract, so the oppositely charged ions attract each other to form compounds that are, overall, electrically neutral. In such compounds, the number of positive charges on the cations equal the number of negative charges. Ions with an overall negative charge are called anions. Compounds composed of both cations and anions, such as table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) and potash (potassium carbonate, K2 CO3), are ionic compounds.

Cations are formed when an atom or group of atom loses one or more electrons, producing more protons than electrons and resulting in an overall positive charge. (Each proton has a +1 charge, and each electron has a -1 charge. In normal atoms, the number of protons equals the number of electrons, so a normal atom has an overall charge of zero. We say it is electrically neutral.) Anions, on the other hand, are formed when an atom or group of atoms accepts one or more electrons, so it has more negative than positive charges. Most metallic elements react chemically to form cations, losing electrons. Most nonmetallic elements react chemically to gain electrons, forming anions.

See also Anion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cation." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cation." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation

"Cation." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Cation

Cation

A cation is any atom or group of atoms that has a net positive charge. While matter is electrically neutral overall, ionic compounds are matter that is composed of positively-charged and negatively-charged particles called ions. An ion is any atom or group of atoms with an overall electrical charge. According to the laws of physics , opposite charges attract, so the oppositelycharged ions attract each other to form compounds that are, overall, electrically neutral. In such compounds, the number of positive charges on the cations is equal to the number of negative charges. Species that have an overall negative charge are called anions. Compounds that are composed of cations and anions are called ionic compounds. Examples include table salt (sodium chloride ) and potash (potassium carbonate).

Cations are formed when an atom or group of atom loses one or more electrons. The resulting species has more protons than electrons, so it has an overall positive charge. (Each proton has a +1 charge, and each electron has a -1 charge. In normal atoms, the number of protons equals the number of electrons, so a normal atom has an overall charge of zero . We say it is electrically neutral.) On the other hand, anions are formed when an atom or group of atoms accepts one or more electrons, so it has more negative charges than positive charges. Most metallic elements react chemically to form cations, losing electrons. Most nonmetallic elements react chemically to gain electrons, thereby forming anions.

See also Anion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cation." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cation." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 7, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation-0

"Cation." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved December 07, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cation-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.