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Reactions in Solution, But Not In Solid Form?

  1. Oct 15, 2011 #1
    Chemistry: Reactions in Solution, But Not In Solid Form?

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    "Calcium chloride and sodium carbonate are two ionic solids. If the solids are placed together, nothing seems to happen. However, if they are mixed in water, the following chemical reaction occurs:

    * See relevant equations.

    Explain why calcium chloride and sodium carbonate react in solution but not in solid form."

    2. Relevant equations

    CaCl2(aq) + Na2CO3(aq) → CaCO3(s) + 2 NaCl(aq)

    3. The attempt at a solution

    The two ionic compounds in their solid state are nonreactive. As a result, when placed together, no reaction occurs. However, when each compound is dissolved into water, dissociation results in the separation of each compound into its respective individual ions. In this dispersed state, the ions can bind to ions from the other substance. The relatively insoluble calcium carbonate that is formed through this double replacement reaction crystallizes and becomes a precipitate within the solution, and the highly soluble sodium chloride dissolves easily into the solution, retaining an aqueous state.

    This question brought my work to a halt, as the provided material I have been studying is relatively vague. The answer I provided above is simply a best guess. There may certain details I overlooked.

    Please take into account that I am only at an intermediate high school level of education. I will not be able to understand any explanation that requires me to have attended a grade twelve or university level of chemistry. I greatly appreciate any help that can be provided.

    Thank you,

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2011 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I like your answer. In solids cations and anions are built into the crystalline structure, so they can't freely move and create new substances.
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