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Thread: Is this at all possible

  1. #1 Is this at all possible 
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    Oct 2008
    Which neutral atom an O^5+ ion would most closely resemble and state its electron configuration. Then using this information, to explain how you would expect the ionisation energy of an O^5+ ion to compare with that of an O^6+ ion.

    can you tell me if this is at all posible, my friend seems to think that answer below is correct ....

    O^5+??? Who are you kidding? There is no such ion in solution. Never has been, Never will be one. Don't even utter such a weirdness.

    In a chemical reaction, oxygen CANNOT lose electrons to become a positively charged ion. That is impossible. Oxygen has the second highest electronegativity and therefore, only pulls electrons closer to it from every other element except F. And when F and O react to make OF2, the bonds are covalent. There's NO ion formed.

    For that matter, I can't think of a single nonmetal that forms a positive ion in solution. Don't confuse a positive oxidation number with an ionic charge. They aren't the same thing.

    The only possible thing you could be talking about would be the fifth ionization energy and the removal of electrons from oxygen gas. Keep in mind that the "5th ionization energy" of oxygen is a work of fiction. The higher order ionization energies are usually calculated values, not actual measurements.

    But back to your hypothetical weirdness, oxygen has 8 electrons. If you somehow removed 5 of them, it would have 1s2, 2s1 electron configuration which is the same as lithium. Removing one more electron would give it the same electron configuration as He.

    Keep in mind that every time an electron is removed, it requires more and more energy because of the electrostatic attraction between the positively charged nucleus and the remaining electrons. The (n+1)th ionization energy will always be greater than the nth ionization energy.

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  3. #2 Re: Is this at all possible 
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by trigger
    For that matter, I can't think of a single nonmetal that forms a positive ion in solution.
    Hydrogen does. Solutions containing H+ ions are called acids. :P

    Ammonium is another non-metal cation, although to be fair it is a molecular ion.

    I agree though; I have never heard of oxygen forming a cation, let alone one with a +5 charge.

    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Did the question ever say this was a real-life possible situation? Nope. Suppose there was an ion. Then what neutral atom would it resemble?
    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor
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    May 2005
    Who said it has to be ionized chemically, or that it happens in solution? Your friend seems to be assuming stupid stuff that's never stated in the question. You can easily make O5+ by blasting oxygen gas with ionizing radiation (UV and x-rays), or probably many other ways that I don't know of off the top of my head.

    To actually answer your question, O5+ would have two 1s electrons and one 2s electron. It would take less energy to ionize O5+ than O6+, because the O6+ has a higher positive charge. As for the "Which neutral atom an O^5+ ion would most closely resemble" part, I don't really know what they mean by "resemble." If they're asking what element has the same ground state electron configuration as O5+, that would be Li. But its reactivity would be very, very different, and saying that they "resemble" each other seems like a huge stretch.

    The wording of the question seems to indicate that you're supposed to use the answer to the first two parts to figure out the answer to the question about ionization energies in 5+ and 6+, but I don't know how that would be useful or relevant. You just need to know that the O6+ has a higher positive charge, so of course it will have a higher ionization energy.

    Edit: Could you tell us where this question came from, and what the "correct" answer is when you find out?
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