The electrons in the outermost shell are called valence electrons.When enough external energy, such as heat, light, or electrical energy, is applied to the atoms of certain materials,
some of the valence electrons will leave the atom. These electrons arecalled free electrons.
It is the movement of free electrons that provides electric current in ametal conductor.
An atom that has lost or gained one or more electrons is said to be ionized orto have an ion change. If the atom loses one or more electrons, it becomes positively chargedand is referred to as a positive ion. If an atom gains one or more electrons, it becomesnegatively charged and is referred to as a negative ion.