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Thread: Do elements attract like elements?

  1. #1 Do elements attract like elements? 
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    I have a question. whenever they talk about the beginning of the solar system they say it was a disk of dust and gas. My question is, if it was all gas and tiny dust particles why do we have veins of gold and silver and large clumps of like matter collected together. Do elements like to bond with like elements or is it random. Because i think if it was all random all of earths material would be homogeneous in composition.


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    Do elements like to bond with like elements or is it random. Because i think if it was all random all of earths material would be homogeneous in composition.

    This is only a guess - I think that much of the concentration of minerals within the earth's surface results from their melting deep below the earth's surface and subsequent transport to the surface by volcanic action. If you imagine gold and say, silica, being heated to the extent that they both melt, you would expect them to separate into different layers because the molten liquids would have different densities.


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    Okay so it's a density and mass thing rather than a natural binding action.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildstar
    Okay so it's a density and mass thing rather than a natural binding action.
    Precisely

    Chris
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    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Okay so it's a density and mass thing rather than a natural binding action.
    Precisely.
    Sure, on the large-scale deposits of solids, which is probably why we often find silver and gold together, and copper and nickel together, etc.

    However, this question seems to hint at the molecular scale, specifically of the gases (where, unlike solids in the ground, very slight forces create a chaotic mixing that probably negates any kind of stratification).

    Molecules such as H2, N2, and O2 seem very common. Do 'like" atoms have a "greater natural affinity" for each other than for other combinations with other atoms? Why not HLi, NP or OS? And why specifically do they form pairs? Also, for example, how strong is the NaCl bond compared to the Cl2 bond (even though this compares a solid to a gas)?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    At the very least, I can say that oxygen doesn't always form pairs. Two molecules in specific: (ozone) and (carbon dioxide). Carbon dioxide is actually more natural than molecular oxygen, but plants use it and sunlight to make sugar, releasing molecular oxygen as a waste product.
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    The reason why particular atoms react with other atoms, or atoms of the same kind, is a consequence of the configuration of electrons in the atom concerned, not because the atoms attract each other. The configuration of electrons is responsible for such phenomena as valency and chemical bonding. Atoms and molecules can attract one another through the agency of electric dipole interactions if the molecules have permanent electric dipoles, or through induced dipoles, the latter effect being referred to a London Dispersion Forces. However, these forces are weak and not selective for matter of the same kind - they would not give rise to the veins of gold and silver and large clumps of like matter referred to in the original post.
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