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Activity series in water

  1. Mar 19, 2005 #1
    Is there any reason for order the activity series of ions in aqueous solutions? For example, why is Calcium higher than sodium?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2005 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Long ago I have a discussion on a similar subject with one of my professors at Uni. It went like this (I was answering):

    Q: Why is calcium higher than sodium?
    A: When you take ionization energy and hydratation energy for both ions and you calculate potentials, calcium is higher then sodium.
    Q: OK, but why is calcium higher than sodium?
    A: Because when you take into account the results of the quantum cacluations you get such ionization and hydratation energy, that calculated potential for calcium is higher than potential for sodium.
    Q: OK, but why is calcium higher than sodium?
    A: Eeee.... Because that's a way it is?
    Q: OK, good. Let's move to another question.

    Later I have learned that "Because that's a way it is" is the answer for most chemistry questions - you may look for reasons, but the final answer is always "Because that's a way it is" :wink:
     
  4. Mar 19, 2005 #3
    What would the hydration energy have anything to do with it? The ions aren't reacting with hydrogen.
     
  5. Mar 20, 2005 #4

    Borek

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    OK. its hydration, not hydratation, but it has nothing to with hydrogen. Every ion in the solution is surrounded by the water particles - the are dipoles so they are electrically attracted. Amount of energy involved when the water particles are forming ordered layers is called hydration energy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2013
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