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A cation or cation is an ion with a positive electrical charge, meaning it has fewer electrons than protons in its nucleus. Cations are formed by removing one or more electrons from a stable neutral atom. In this way, the charge of the nucleus (the number of protons) is greater than the number of electrons, resulting in an overall positive charge.


An example of a cation is the sodium cation (Na⁺). Neutral sodium atoms have 11 electrons and 11 protons, making them electrically neutral. However, when one electron is removed, a positively charged Na⁺ cation with 11 protons and only 10 electrons is formed.

Cations are common in chemistry and physics, and play an important role in reactions and interactions between atoms and molecules. They usually combine with anions (ions with a negative charge) to form an electrically neutral substance.

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