Ionizing a covalently-bonded molecule?

  • Chemistry
  • Thread starter bigplanet401
  • Start date
  • #1
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Homework Statement


What happens to a water molecule if it is hit by a high energy electron or photon?


Homework Equations





The Attempt at a Solution



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

[tex]
e + H_2 O \rightarrow H^+ + OH + 2e
[/tex]

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?

[tex]
e + H_2 O \rightarrow H + OH^+ + 2e
[/tex]

And if a photon strikes the molecule, how about

[tex]
\gamma + H_2 O \rightarrow H_2 + O
[/tex]

(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!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
AGNuke
Gold Member
455
9
You are reducing water, so the reaction is simply [tex]H_2O+e^- \rightarrow \frac{1}{2}H_2+OH^-[/tex]
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
chemisttree
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
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593

Homework Statement


What happens to a water molecule if it is hit by a high energy electron or photon?
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.
 

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