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Thread: BeF(one), MgCl, etc.

  1. #1 BeF(one), MgCl, etc. 
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    Hypothetical territory here

    If you fired a single Be atom at a single F atom, or any alkaline earth element at any halogen, could you get them to form a bond?

    In other words, do elements form only when the perfect balance is achieved and the second (or nth) oppositely charged atom is available?


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    What was wrong with this question?


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam144 View Post
    If you fired a single Be atom at a single F atom, or any alkaline earth element at any halogen, could you get them to form a bond?
    Yes. With certain caveats (like the velocity not being so high they bounce off each other, etc.)

    In other words, do elements form only when the perfect balance is achieved and the second (or nth) oppositely charged atom is available?
    I don't really understand that bit ... fancy having another go at it?
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam144 View Post
    In other words, do elements form only when the perfect balance is achieved and the second (or nth) oppositely charged atom is available?
    I'm with Strange. I don't think I quite understand what you're asking.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    The first question was answered, which was basically, "Can you make BeF, CO, etc."... by a process that I assumed would involve taking an isolated Be atom and merging it with an isolated F atom, in a purely imaginary process. (I'm curious, if this has actually been accomplished, or something like it, in the lab.) This never occurs naturally. Naturally you get BeF2, CO2, MgCl2.

    (I liked this explanation I found elsewhere, for why MgCl2 forms rather than MgCl. "The reason for this is that the first and second ionisation potentials for Mg are relatively low and that energy can be recovered by the lattice energy of MgCl2 and the electron affinity of Cl. The 3rd ionisation potential is too high for this. So it stops reacting at the second chlorine.")

    Rewording my original question in the op, I asked "do elements form only when the perfect balance is achieved and the second (or nth) oppositely charged atom is available? "

    I don't know if balance was the right word, I'm a newb and an amateur at chemistry so I'm grasping for vocabulary on concepts I'm only just learning. What I meant by that question was just whether molecules were like mathematical things that needed to be balanced out -- in the case of MgCl2, the requirement being that both valence electrons get bonded. I think I used the term "balance" coming from redox reactions.

    I honestly didn't know if MgCl, that is Mg and one single Cl atom, could form a stable molecule in a vacuum.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam144 View Post
    The first question was answered, which was basically, "Can you make BeF, CO, etc."... by a process that I assumed would involve taking an isolated Be atom and merging it with an isolated F atom, in a purely imaginary process. (I'm curious, if this has actually been accomplished, or something like it, in the lab.) This never occurs naturally. Naturally you get BeF2, CO2, MgCl2.
    Ah, I missed the point that you were trying to create "incomplete" molecules. But, yes, it would still work in that context. (Although, note that CO is a complete molecule, carbon monoxide).

    I think these sort of single (or very small number) reactions have been done but I don't know for sure.

    Also, these "partial" compounds do appear in normal chemical reactions. They are usually extremely reactive and don't exist for long. It is a long time since I studied chemistry ... the word has slipped my mind ... not ions but ... radicals! Is that it?

    They can be very important in synthesis procedures. For example you might arrange to produce a radical at one stage of a reaction because you know it will "grab" the thing you want to react with more strongly than any normal molecule.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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