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QUESTION

# What is the overall charge of the electron cloud of an atom? Why?

Well, what is the , Z, of the given element?

A given element has an atomic number of Z. What does this mean? It means that there are Z positive nuclear charges, and this determines the identity of the element. If the element is neutral, this means that there are precisely Z electrons, and the overall electronic charge is -Z. And thus the net ELECTRIC charge of the ATOM is Z+(-Z)=0, i.e. "zero".

Is this clear?