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Topic: Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?  (Read 6399 times)

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Offline reed

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Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?
« on: February 23, 2009, 02:53:32 PM »
Why can't an anion like chlorate exist on it's own? What would happen if you were to somehow isolate the chlorate anion from a compound? Would it just be ClO4 and somehow lose an electron, or would it dissolve into Cl and O?


Thanks!

Offline nj_bartel

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Re: Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 06:06:57 PM »
If you were to take a gram of protons and a gram of electrons and separate them on the opposite ends of the earth, there would be something like 12 tons of attractive force between them.  Electrostatic attraction is too large to isolate a charge.

Offline reed

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Re: Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 06:32:04 PM »
So Ions cannot exist on their own. And all compounds must be electrically neutral...

Why is it that the chlorine in salt water doesn't behave in the same way chlorine does? Does this have to do with missing electrons?

Offline nj_bartel

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Re: Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 07:02:00 PM »
I'm not sure what you mean.  Are you comparing chlorine gas and the ion chloride?

Offline reed

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Re: Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 08:59:51 PM »
Yes.

Offline nj_bartel

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Re: Why can't anions or cations exist by themselves?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 10:16:35 PM »
Chlorine can form an ionic bond with sodium to form NaCl (which is essentially Na+ and Cl- adjacent to one another in a crystalline manner).  When you put NaCl in water, the Na+ is surrounded by the electrons from the oxygen in water and the Cl- is surrounded by the hyrodgens of water.

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