January 25, 2021, 02:43:22 AM
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Topic: Very newbie question on why this reaction occurs  (Read 183 times)

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Offline lloyd709

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Very newbie question on why this reaction occurs
« on: January 10, 2021, 07:31:57 AM »
I'm trying to get my head around the basic concepts of why reactions occur and I'm stuck on the following:

The reaction between sodium and water is:

2Na + 2H(2)O ➞ 2NaOH + H(2)

(for some reason my subscripts aren't working so I've put numbers in brackets where they should be subscripted)

My crude understanding of why this happens is because the single outer shell electron of the sodium is easily grabbed by the oxygen - that kicks out a covalently bonded hydrogen to make room - and creates an ionic bond between the sodium the oxygen (which in turn is still covalently bonded to one of it’s hydrogens).

My question is why doesn’t the oxygen kick out both it’s hydrogens and fill it’s outer shell with electrons from two sodiums instead resulting in the following:

2Na + H(2)O ➞ 2Na(2)O + H(2) 

I'm sure this will be explained later in my studies but I was hoping someone might be able to give a very basic pointer to reason now to help me move on.

Offline AWK

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Re: Very newbie question on why this reaction occurs
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2021, 08:42:31 AM »
At the lower levels of chemistry, first of all, reactions in aqueous solutions or water and only a few other types of reactions are learned.
The reaction of sodium with sodium hydroxide is not in this range, but that doesn't mean it can't occur. Besides, this reaction requires conditions that are rather impossible to meet at school or in a student university laboratory (~ 600°C).
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Re: Very newbie question on why this reaction occurs
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2021, 10:05:34 AM »
Even assuming Na2O would be created, it would quickly react with excess water producing NaOH, as this is the most thermodynamically stable substance in these conditions.
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Offline lloyd709

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Re: Very newbie question on why this reaction occurs
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 04:47:32 PM »
Even assuming Na2O would be created, it would quickly react with excess water producing NaOH, as this is the most thermodynamically stable substance in these conditions.

I think you might have given me the answer I was looking for in that NaOH is the most 'thermodynamically stable substance'.  I just wanted to know the names of the force/forces that were at work as a starting point.  Thanks.

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