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Putting every element in a box

  1. Nov 25, 2009 #1
    If you were to put 1 atom every element in its elemental form in a box, what would be the resulting compounds?

    1.) I know it's probably impossible.
    2.) I don't mean highly radioactive elements (transuranium metals, francium, radon, astatine, etc.)
    3.) I'm really only talking about some of the more reactive elements-I don't really care what happens 90% of the elements.
    4.) If it's possible, don't take into account the starting positions of the atoms.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2009 #2


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    You mean all atoms - 1 of each element - in ONE box?

  4. Nov 25, 2009 #3
    I think the only impossible part about this is getting all the atoms together in the box before some of them start reacting. How about for the sake of observation, you use 1 mole of each element, instead of 1 atom?

    This is an interesting question, so I'm a little hesitant to answer since I have a feeling it might be more complicated than I'm thinking. You can't really ignore the starting positions, since that ultimately will determine which reactions occur. A few compounds that come to mind as being likely to form: LiF, NaCl, KBr, BeO, MgS, etc. Obviously the most stable compounds will be the ones left in the end, so this is the basis of my prediction.
  5. Nov 26, 2009 #4


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    Perhaps a more tractable way of posing the question is to ask: what is the lowest energy way of combining one atom of each element. The answer is not likely to be easy to find, but at least it will have a single defined answer as opposed to worrying about starting conditions.
  6. Nov 27, 2009 #5


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    It's a silly and unanswerable question. Individual atoms (with the exception of noble gases) will typically immediately combine with the first atom they run into. Assuming nothing more complicated than diatomic molecules are formed, that still means over 10,000 possible compounds.
  7. Nov 27, 2009 #6
    This reminds me of when I was a kid and somebody gave me a chemistry set.I got bored by following the experiments in the instruction booklet so I mixed everything together and tried to set it all alight.
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