Ionizing a covalently-bonded molecule?

1. Aug 25, 2012

bigplanet401

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
What happens to a water molecule if it is hit by a high energy electron or photon?

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution

My knowledge of chemistry is very limited, and my guess is that it would be ionized:

$$e + H_2 O \rightarrow H^+ + OH + 2e$$

Here, a high energy electron hits the molecule and releases 1 electron from the H atom, making it a cation. Two electrons appear in the products: 1 from the H along with the original electron.

If something like this were possible, then could a "hydroxide cation" be formed?

$$e + H_2 O \rightarrow H + OH^+ + 2e$$

And if a photon strikes the molecule, how about

$$\gamma + H_2 O \rightarrow H_2 + O$$

(Can water absorb photons?)

I am trying to understand how a covalently-bonded molecule "breaks up" when bombarded with cosmic rays, and would like to know if any of these examples (which contain such a molecule) are plausible. Thanks for your help!

2. Aug 25, 2012

AGNuke

You are reducing water, so the reaction is simply $$H_2O+e^- \rightarrow \frac{1}{2}H_2+OH^-$$
You just can't go and cleave bonds that easily. And for the cosmic rays, I think that everybody can form radical, as many species does in UV light. (Cosmic rays are too powerful I suppose)

3. Aug 26, 2012

chemisttree

Also known as ionizing radiation. There is a lot of information on the web regarding ionizing radiation and it's effects on the water molecule.