Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do exactly the same chemicals react with each other

  1. Mar 28, 2017 #1
    Not sure if this is well know but for some reason, I don't know if exactly same chemicals make chemical reactions with one another and if yes, how common that is?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2017 #2

    BillTre

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Your question is not clear to me.
     
  4. Mar 28, 2017 #3
    If there was an environment with only one compound in it, for example destilised water, I understand that water molecules don't chemically react with it each other. At least not on Earth I imagine.
    But I was wondering if there is such a compound which in some way, changes its molecular property by interacting with another same compound. I guess the other compound would also change into the same thing...
     
  5. Mar 28, 2017 #4

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I"m not sure what you mean - let's take this to be an answer.
    Polymers, examples:
    multiple glucose molecules which are chemically bonded into a chain == starch.
    From wikipedia:
    polypepetides can be chains of the same amino acid - like where G=glutamic acid G-G-G-G-G
     
  6. Mar 28, 2017 #5

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    @BillTre - not clear to me either. But polymers meet his definition. Probably not his intent.
     
  7. Mar 28, 2017 #6
    Ah I see what you mean Jim, if same molecules start boding together, that essentially is a chemical reaction and the result is a different molecule. So from that angle the answer would be yes.
    I was more thinking if the actual internal structure of the molecule could ever change by being around a molecule or molecules just like itself.
    Thanks for the reply btw!
     
  8. Mar 28, 2017 #7

    BillTre

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    How about O forming O2, or H forming H2?
    Is that the kind of thing you mean?
    I think the unbonded atoms (which some might call molecules) would be unstable.

    or what about 3O2's forming 2O3's? (all more than a single atom)?
     
  9. Mar 28, 2017 #8
    Yes, that's a great example. hah, what's that expression.. can't see the forest for the trees.
    But that still does just create a "chain" sort to speak.
    I was more thinking of a molecule, say some acid for example that will react every time it is surrounded by itself... And turn into another type of acid. I can't imagine this could happen as they would have to turn into either something else (so someone would have to donate an atom or two, I guess they would have to argue it out? ;) ), but they cannot change into a same thing, because they would just remain the same thing.
    Sorry this might be obvious, but it just never occurred to me to question it, just in case...
     
  10. Mar 28, 2017 #9

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Or: radioactive decay -> alpha particle -> interacts with neighbor nucleus. You should consider reading about chemistry.

    Your question is 'a too nebulous what if '; too many answers fit.
     
  11. Mar 28, 2017 #10
    Thanks Jim, this is totally a basic question. I just for some reason questioned it
     
  12. Mar 28, 2017 #11
    Bottom line, creating poly-chains seems to be the only option a molecule has when reacting with itself.
     
  13. Mar 28, 2017 #12

    Ygggdrasil

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    A good example of this phenomenon is nitrogen dioxide. NO2 can react with itself to form N2O4. So, under certain conditions (e.g. low temperature or high pressure), a vial of nitrogen dioxide will convert mostly to dinitrogen tetroxide, whereas under other conditions (high temp or low pressure), it will stay as nitrogen dioxide.

    Another example of this phenomenon is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is fairly reactive substance that can react with itself to form various polymeric forms (e.g. paraformaldehyde). As a diffuse gas, formaldehyde can exist mostly as monomers, but once this gas condenses, you begin to start forming these polymers.
     
  14. Mar 29, 2017 #13

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    A bit tricky, if the molecule reacts with itself you can't start with a pure compound :wink:

    Google for disproportionation.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted