Electrical seperation of hydrogen bonds

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of using electrical force to break the molecular bonds in cellulose, thus allowing for easier cutting of paper. It also touches on the chemical composition of cellulose and the potential challenges in conducting such an experiment. The speaker suggests seeking advice from engineering forums for a more detailed explanation.
  • #1
nikolatesla20
23
0
Ok. It's been a long time since chemistry class.

Firstly, I'm investigating alternative techniques for cutting paper. Think, a normal sheet of computer printer paper. Disregard for the moment any chemical binders. Paper is close to 100% cellulose.

So, cellulose is a polysaccharide which "bristles" with polar O-H groups
(see http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/consumer/faq/what-is-cellulose.shtml)

which will form hydrogen bonds with other O-H groups on other poly chains, bonding them together.

I know that removing the water is what joins the molecules initially. So adding water would most likely aid the separation, but of course it also messes up the paper.

What I'm curious about is, if one had enough electrical force (a high enough voltage), could one , for example, bring a highly positive plate near contact with the poly structure, and cause it to cleave? In other words, break the molecular bond at that point?

I'm not even sure how much "energy" is in one of these H-bonds, not to mention the energy involved in the C-O-H bond in between molecules. I'm assuming one would have to apply enough energy to overcome that energy.

I ask this question more out of a curiosity rather than a "commercial" application. I just thought it might be a good experiment. Perhaps of course the amount of energy required would simply burn the paper anyway :P

-niko
 
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  • #2
You're asking a pretty specific theoretical question within a vague context, in relevance to an experimental setting. Cellulose does undergo redox reactions, to speed up this reaction, all you need to do is to place it in slightly more acidic conditions. As far as the "applying voltage to paper" goes, you would probably need a sophisticated technical method, since you would need to pass the charge throughout the insulating paper and also make a circuit, with the paper medium being an essential part of it. You may want to ask this question in one of the engineering forums to get a more detailed theoretical explanation.
 
  • #3



Hi Niko, that's a really interesting question! The concept of using electrical force to break hydrogen bonds in cellulose is definitely intriguing. However, it's important to note that hydrogen bonds are relatively weak compared to other types of chemical bonds like covalent bonds. They typically have a bond energy of 5-10 kcal/mol, which is much lower than the bond energy of a typical covalent bond (around 50-100 kcal/mol). This means that a significant amount of energy would be needed to break the hydrogen bonds in cellulose.

Additionally, cellulose molecules are tightly packed together in paper, making it difficult for an electrical force to penetrate and reach the hydrogen bonds. The electrical force would most likely be dispersed throughout the paper, rather than being concentrated on the specific bonds that need to be broken.

Furthermore, as you mentioned, the high voltage needed to break the hydrogen bonds may also cause the paper to burn or catch fire. This is because high voltage can generate heat, which can lead to combustion.

Overall, while the idea of using electrical force to break hydrogen bonds in cellulose is intriguing, it may not be a practical or efficient method. Other techniques such as using enzymes or chemical treatments may be more effective and controlled ways to break the hydrogen bonds in paper.
 

1. What is the electrical separation of hydrogen bonds?

The electrical separation of hydrogen bonds is the process of breaking the weak bonds between hydrogen atoms and other atoms, such as oxygen or nitrogen, in a molecule. This separation is caused by the attraction between oppositely charged particles.

2. How does electrical separation of hydrogen bonds occur?

Electrical separation of hydrogen bonds occurs when an external electrical field is applied to a molecule. This field causes the positively charged hydrogen atoms to move towards the negative end of the field, while the negatively charged atoms move towards the positive end. This movement weakens the hydrogen bonds and can eventually break them.

3. What are the applications of electrical separation of hydrogen bonds?

One application of electrical separation of hydrogen bonds is in the production of hydrogen fuel. By breaking the hydrogen bonds in water molecules, pure hydrogen gas can be separated and used as a clean energy source. This process is also used in the separation of different chemical compounds in industries such as pharmaceuticals and food production.

4. Is electrical separation of hydrogen bonds reversible?

Yes, electrical separation of hydrogen bonds is reversible. Once the electrical field is removed, the positively charged hydrogen atoms and negatively charged atoms will return to their original positions, re-forming the hydrogen bonds. This process is known as recombination.

5. Are there any risks or dangers associated with electrical separation of hydrogen bonds?

There are some risks associated with electrical separation of hydrogen bonds, as it involves the use of an external electrical field. If not properly controlled, this field can cause electric shocks or burns. Additionally, the production of hydrogen gas through this process can be dangerous if not handled properly, as hydrogen is highly flammable.

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