# How to calculate the maximum charge of an atom or a molecule

• Chemistry
• HCverma
In summary, atoms and molecules can have a maximum charge, and this is usually not called an "atom" or "molecule" anymore but a "ion" when the atom or molecule has lost or gained electrons.In summary, Al, Ca and O2 have a maximum charge of 3, 2 and 8 respectively.
HCverma

## Homework Statement

How to calculate the maximum charge of an atom or a molecule?
As we know the equivalent weight = atomic weight / maximum charge
Al, Ca and O2

## The Attempt at a Solution

Al, E = 27/3 = 9
Ca, E = 40/2 = 20
O2, E = 16/2 = 8
I see on the books that the charges of Al, Ca and O2 are 3, 2 and 2 but
How to find the charges of Al, Ca and O2?

HCverma said:
the maximum charge of an atom or a molecule?

And how is it defined?

Borek said:
And how is it defined?

Good question... I would say that atom has the maximum possible charge when it is fully ionized, but I have the feeling this is not the real goal of the problem...

Borek said:
And how is it defined?

Hoover the mouse over MY PF (upper toolbar), click "Your profile page" in the menu, look in the "recent activity" or "postings" tab.

I agree with 2 and 3. Definitions are important, but I recommend to not be hung up on them to the point of losing sight of acquiring essential ordinary ideas of chemistry.

Your numbers given by a division are something or other different from charges, probably to do with (related. concept of) equivalent masses (confusion?).

When an atom or molecule is charged it is usually not called atom or molecule any more but 'ion'.
Atoms or molecules may commonly lose or acquire electrons in their 'outer shells' mostly when they are surrounded by other stuff to and from which it is easy for them to lose or acquire them, expecially in aqueous solution or in crystals. The number lost or gained, and hence the charge acquired is easily calculated from knowledge of an element's position in the periodic table, or atomic number. At least this is true more often than not, the cases you first meet. E.g in solution, you get Al3+, Ca2+. Then for important heavier elements it's more complicated but not very, and rationalisable.

(Not in ordinary chemistry but in mass spectrometry, which us a somewhat specialised technique but which all chemists must know about, atoms and molecules are given a single charge (mostly) by electron bombardment etc.)

More than this not really profitable now IMO, you probably need to plough ahead in your general textbook without stopping here!

Last edited:
Probably not what you intended, but accelerators and various astrophysical processes may strip atoms to their bare nuclei.

## 1. How do you calculate the maximum charge of an atom?

The maximum charge of an atom is determined by the number of protons in its nucleus. Protons have a positive charge, so the maximum charge of an atom is equal to its atomic number, which is the number of protons present in the nucleus.

## 2. Can the maximum charge of an atom be negative?

No, the maximum charge of an atom cannot be negative. As mentioned, the maximum charge is determined by the number of protons, which are positively charged particles. Therefore, the maximum charge of an atom can only be positive.

## 3. How does the number of electrons affect the maximum charge of an atom?

The number of electrons in an atom can affect the maximum charge by either increasing or decreasing it. Electrons have a negative charge, so if an atom gains electrons, its maximum charge will become more negative. On the other hand, if an atom loses electrons, its maximum charge will become more positive.

## 4. What is the maximum charge of a molecule?

The maximum charge of a molecule is determined by the sum of the charges of its individual atoms. Molecules can have a net positive, negative, or neutral charge, depending on the distribution of charges among its atoms.

## 5. How do you calculate the maximum charge of a molecule with multiple elements?

To calculate the maximum charge of a molecule with multiple elements, you will need to know the charges of each individual atom and their respective quantities. You can then add the charges of all the atoms together to determine the maximum charge of the molecule.

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