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Class 8-9-10, JEE & NEET
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Explain why cations are smaller and anions larger in radii than their parent atoms?
A cation has a fewer number of electrons than its parent atom, while its nuclear charge remains the same. As a result, the attraction of electrons to the nucleus is more in a cation than in its parent atom. Therefore, a cation is smaller in size than its parent atom.
On the other hand, an anion has one or more electrons than its parent atom, resulting in an increased repulsion among the electrons and a decrease in the effective nuclear charge. As a result, the distance between the valence electrons and the nucleus is more in anions than in it’s the parent atom. Hence, an anion is larger in radius than its parent atom.