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Hydrogen is an anomaly

  1. Nov 8, 2014 #1
    I've been wondering what is up with hydrogen. It shares little more than basic commonality with any other atom, this strikes me as strange as all atoms share some properties with those around them on the periodic table whether be it nuclear, physical, or chemical. I asked a reputable source and she attributed it to the fact that Hydrogen is little more than a proton, but then deuterium or tritium should change dramatically given the addition of the neutrons that make the difference between Hydrogen and other atoms.

    Does anyone have any explanation as to what makes Hydrogen so different?
     
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  3. Nov 8, 2014 #2

    ZapperZ

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    What exactly is so different about hydrogen than the other atoms?

    Zz.
     
  4. Nov 8, 2014 #3

    mathman

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    As far as chemical properties are concerned, H1, H2, and H3 are similar.
    Many nuclides have unusual properties, not just H1.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2014 #4

    SteamKing

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    How should the isotopes of hydrogen 'change dramatically'? This is a rather vague statement.
     
  6. Nov 10, 2014 #5

    Drakkith

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    The neutrons are not what make the difference between different elements in terms of chemical properties. It is the protons that do this. If you look at other elements, all the different isotopes have the same chemical properties. Hydrogen is no different.
     
  7. Nov 10, 2014 #6

    e.bar.goum

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    I don't think this is what the OP is asking, but it's worth noting for those that claim that there can be no effect of neutron number on chemistry that there is some scope for isotopes to change the chemistry - in the kinetics of the system.

    It's easy to see in the harmonic oscillator analogy - if you change the weight of the ball on the spring, the behaviour changes.

    This is actually most obvious for isotopes of hydrogen. Moving from hydrogen to deuterium doubles the mass of the atom, tritium triples it. This is why there are some investigations into replacing hydrogen with deuterium for drugs (although it is difficult patent-wise). See:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090316/full/458269a.html[/URL]

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jm4007998[/URL][/URL]

    I didn't know this until I had to do some work with deuterium last year. I think this is super neat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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