The Importance of Ions
In chemistry, we attempt to grasp numerous rules and facts so that we can better understand the world around us down to the most basic of levels. Ions are amongst the most important binding agents of the universe and the least significant item on a person’s list of graces at thanksgiving. A key to being able to comprehend how chemistry works is knowing what ions are, the job they perform, and how crucial their impact on everything is.
What is an ion? The most cookie cutter, “don’t bother me” answer would be “A positively or negatively charged atom or group of atoms. See also cation, anion.” But what is an electrically charged atom/ group of atoms? They ...view middle of the document...
He also noticed that certain compounds decompose into their elements by passing an electric current through the compound. Atoms of some of the elements are attracted to the positive electrode (basically a charged metal plate, we use metal for its conductive qualities), while other elements are attracted to the negative electrode. Faraday concluded that these atoms are electrically charged. He gave them the very nice name of ions, which comes from a Greek word meaning “wanderer”.
Any moving charge is an electrical current and must travel through a substance known as a conducting medium, which are commonly in the form of metal wires (why you don’t let your puppy chew wires).
The Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius furthered Faraday’s work in the mid-1800‘s. He coined the terms cation for positive ions that traveled to the cathode (negatively charged electrode) and anion for those that traveled to the anode (positively charged electrode).
In 1891, Irish physicist G. J. Stoney realized from Faraday’s and Arrhenius’s work that there must have been a fundamental unit of electricity associated with atoms. He called the unit the electron in 1891, although unfortunately without experimental proof. Luckily, his idea was later proved true experimentally by English scientist Joseph Thomson, and the idea of the electrically charged atom we have come to know and love lives on today.
As stated before, ions help and allow for the creation of an endless amount of compounds. Ionic...