A Simple Valence Problem for a Beginning Chemistry Enthusiast

Chemistry, Education
It is not unusual for school systems to introduce students to chemistry by means of the Periodic Table of the Elements. The table is then broken down into sections: the metals, the non-metals, and the gases. Before long, the structure of the atom is discussed, including protons, neutrons, electrons, orbitals, shells, and valence. It is the last of these we will briefly discuss here – valence. First a very brief discussion, followed by examples, followed by a puzzling problem (to impart insight). Valence: A Simple Discussion Atoms, although containing positive protons and negative electrons, have a net charge of zero. They are electrically neutral. This means each lone atom has a number of electrons equal to its number of protons. For instance, a sodium atom¹ has 11 protons. It also…
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The Bent Water Molecule – Why Is It Bent?

Chemistry, Physics
[caption id="attachment_14934" align="alignright" width="480"] Liquid Water (Left) - Ice (Right)[/caption] The water molecule, H₂O, consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. A naïve attempt at writing its structure out in full is H‒O‒H. What’s naïve about this? This drawing is linear—a straight line. It is naïve because the water molecule is a bent water molecule... bent at about 104.5°. It is a good thing for us that this is so, since this imparts a degree of polarity to the water molecule. Polarity, in turn, gives rise to hydrogen bonding. The hydrogen bonding of molecules assures water’s liquidity. In addition hydrogen bonding influences water’s crystallization, so that ice is lighter than very cold water. Ice thus floats, forming an insulating blanket atop lakes and other bodies of water. This…
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