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Homework Help: NH3 versus NH4+

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Why does NH3 readily form complex ions with the transition elements but NH4+ does not?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Is it because the transition elements are much more receptive to reacting with a base than with an acid because in fact the transition elements would much prefer to give up an H+ rather than accept one.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2010 #2


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    Science Advisor
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    Gold Member

    Draw the lewis structures for both of these (easy!) and you will see why. It is a little more complex than just acid/base.

    Hint: Transition metals usually have empty orbitals of fairly low energy.
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