# What is the difference between the attraction of a positive ion with a negative ion and the attraction of a positive ion with an electron?

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• Attraction ....

positive ion + negative ion --> ion pair

This occurs frequently in aqueous solution. The ion pair briefly exists and then splits up and the ions move on.

The catch for an aqueous ion and an electron is having a free electron in aqueous solution. That is much less likely to happen because any free electrons would have combined with something else: an ion or a water molecule. In addition, a positive ion in aqueous solution is usually surrounded by a sphere of water molecules, i.e. [Na(H2O)6]+ which increases the distance between the particles. The distance matters to the strength of the attraction since the force of attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance (Coulomb's law).

Coulomb's law: .... F = kq1q2 / r²

What about an ion and an electron in the gas phase? That would be more likely since in a plasma it is possible to have a "cloud" of electrons as well as gaseous ions. The force of attraction would still depend on Coulomb's law.

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The answer is accurate. Don't be put off by the "thumbs down." It's the work of a troll.

• no difference if the ions have charges of +e or –e

if one or both of the ions have larger charges, the attraction increases.

Coulomb's law, force of attraction/repulsion

F = kQ₁Q₂/r²

Q₁ and Q₂ are the charges in coulombs

F is force in newtons

r is separation in meters

k = 8.99e9 Nm²/C²