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Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

What Is An Ion?

In physics and chemistry, an ion is an atom or molecule that does not have a neutral electric charge. Cation is called a positively charged ion, and anion a negatively charged ion.

What is an ion?

The process of gaining or losing electrons (relative to the neutral atom or molecule) is called ionization. Cations and anions are usually represented with the corresponding atom symbol and the "+" or "-" symbol, respectively. If the number of electrons gained or lost is greater than one, this is also indicated.

The cations and anions are attracted to the cathode and the anode, respectively.

Ions are divided into monoatomic and polyatomic.

Michael Faraday was the first to propose the existence of ions, in 1830, but it was Arrhenius who developed the corresponding theory in 1884. This earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1903.

What is ionization?

Ionization is the phenomenon through which an atom loses or gains one or more electrons.

In physics, fully ionized atoms, like those of alpha particles, are commonly called charged particles. Ionization is generally done by applying high energy to atoms, in the form of electrical potential or radiation. An ionized gas is called plasma.

Some of the components resulting from nuclear fission reactions are highly ionized elements.

What are anions and cations?

Ions can be of two types:

  • The anions . Anions are ions that are negatively charged. At the same time, they are attracted by the anodes.
  • The cations . Cations are positively charged ions. This time, they are attracted to the cathodes.

A cathode is an electrode that undergoes a reduction reaction, through which a material reduces its oxidation state by receiving electrons. The anode is an electrode in which an oxidation reaction occurs, through which a material, by losing electrons, increases its oxidation state.

What is ionization energy?

Ionization energy is the energy required to remove electrons from an atom. Also called ionization potential.

For individual atoms in a vacuum, there is a physical constant associated with the ionization process. These terms are also used to describe the ionization of molecules and solids, but the values ​​are not constant, since ionization is influenced by local chemical bonds, geometry, and temperature.

Ionization energy decreases over a group of periodic tables, and increases from left to right throughout the period. These trends are exactly opposite to those of the atomic ray. The reason is that the purpose of an atom is to form an octet (thanks to the valence electrons). Then, moving further towards the groups to the right of the periodic table (towards the "noble gases") we find atoms with a high value of ionization energy.

First ionization energy

Called the first ionization energy, the energy required to remove one electron, the second ionization energy required to remove two electrons, and so on. Subsequent ionization energies are always significantly larger than previous ones.

This is why ions tend to form in certain ways. For example, sodium is found as Na +, but not normally as Na 2+, due to the high second required ionization energy, which is much higher than the first ionization energy. Similarly, magnesium is found as Mg 2+ and not Mg 3+, and aluminum exists as a 3+ cation.

Generally, ionization potentials decrease from top to bottom, and grow from left to right on the periodic table. This trend is inverse of that found for the atomic radius. This is because, in small atoms, the electrons are more strongly attracted to the nucleus and there is more energy to pull them out.

First ionization potential

The first ionization potential is what is needed to pull the first electron out of a neutral atom; the second potential is the one needed to pluck two electrons, and so on.

Ionization potentials are gradually increasing. Generally, there is a considerable jump in energy at some point in the series. This causes each atom to tend to form a certain type of cation.

What is ionizing radiation?

Ionizing radiation is radiation that has a frequency large enough to ionize the atoms or molecules of the exposed substances. This type of radiation is capable of modifying the chemical structure of the substances on which they affect and can produce long-term biological effects on living beings.

An example of ionizing radiation would be the modification of the DNA of the cells, these DNA mutations can lead to cancer. X-rays and gamma radiation would be two examples of highly ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

What is non- ionizing radiation?

Non-ionizing radiation is radiation that does not have enough frequency to cause ionization of exposed materials. As an example of non- ionizing radiation, microwaves or radio waves can be mentioned.

This type of radiation does not have enough energy to directly cause DNA mutations and therefore they probably cannot initiate carcinogenesis but could be promoters.

Electromagnetic pollution is currently referred to as the exposure of living things or devices to an electromagnetic field, and the effects of this exposure on health or fertility are discussed.

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Last review: March 26, 2020