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Splitting The Molecule

  1. Nov 28, 2004 #1
    Can we split the molecule yet>?
    I don't mean to spilt the atom causing a nuetron to become free, but cause a molecule chain reaction...>?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2004 #2


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    Yes, this is what chamical reactions do, all the time.

    Yes, look up photochemical reactions. In these reactions, free radicals play a role similar to the extra neutrons from nuclear chain reactions.

    I believe it is also possible to break weak chemical bonds with an STM probe (folks at IBM research labs have been playing with stuff like this) but this doesn't, in general, result in a chain reaction of any kind.
  4. Nov 28, 2004 #3


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    If you are famlair with a polo mint (lifesavers in the US perhaps?), I believe if you snap one half you are actually breaking intermolecular bonds (though I could be wrong, it may just be intramolecular bonds), infact if you do it in the dark you can even see a small flash of light.
  5. Aug 6, 2005 #4

    ok i was just wondering how the hydrogen powered engine separates the hydrogen from the oxygen in water. i was reading up on it, and it does this for the hydrogen, and then the oxygen is released into the air instead of carbon monoxide. so how does this contraption separate h2o molecules without causing a huge atomic explosion? surly separating a molecule like that would mean either rushing in electrons, and the ions would no longer need to bond with each other.. or im just being stupid since ive never really taken any physics classes. i just know that the molecules are bonded by electrons orbiting different atoms in this infinity-8 shaped orbit or something.

    but also what you said-a lifesaver breaking in the dark- i can understand that happening. but does that mean if you snap something a lot bigger, why doesnt it create a huge spark? like wood snapping or something..
  6. Aug 6, 2005 #5


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    You pour table salt into water and the salt dissolves. A fair number of the salt (NaCl) molecules will dissociate into Na+ and Cl- ions- you've split the molecule!

    An atom is a part of a molecule. Since we've been able to split the atom since the 1940's isn't it obvious that we had to have been able to split a molecule long before that?
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