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The reactivity of sodium

  1. Jan 2, 2012 #1
    Hey guys, I am a graduate of UC Berkeley taking steps to relearn chemistry, physics, and mathematics. I can assist you guys tremendously about quarks if you guys can assist me also!

    My high school chemistry teacher kept a piece of sodium metal in some oil to prevent the electrons from reacting with oxygen gas in an exothermic reaction. Now, I am an engineering physics enthusiast and a tutor trying to understand the concept of energy and quarks. I fear that I may confuse my students if I lead them into the wrong conclusion.

    Here is my question.

    Can quarks rearrange itself to form protons and neutrons if scientists can isolate one atom of sodium inside a vacuum? Afterall, energy release and absorption is a question of electron configuration stability. This stability is obtained by borrowing electrons from neighboring atoms.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2012 #2
    Chemical reactions do not affect the nucleus. Isolating a sodium atom in a vacuum will not cause quarks in the nucleus to change. Quarks make up protons and nuetrons so "rearrange themsleves" statement makes no sense.

    Also electrons do not react with the oxygen gas. A sodium reacts when one of its electrons are given away to another atom. Also sodium mearly tarnishes in air. It will react vigourouly with water.

    This entire post does not make sense to me.
  4. Jan 3, 2012 #3
    Firstly, if quarks are to be considered to be particles merely for our conceptualization, then we can study them using a statistical model. I havent studied the statistical model. However, when a group of quarks happen to be arranged in a certain order, then it may turn into a proton or a neutron. I believe we all can agree that there is constant energy within the subatomic world. As a result, there has to be a balance that provides nuclear stability. When the balance is disrupted by an addition or a loss of an electron that disrupts the balance between the number of protons and electrons, I think the atom creates some potential energy threshold. If the electrons can reconfigure itself, then it goes through a chemical reaction. If the electrons find some energy obstacles, then perhaps the atom tends to go through a beta particle or an alpha particle nuclear reaction.
    What do you think about my hypothesis?
  5. Jan 3, 2012 #4
    Chemical reaction do not trigger or hinder alpha and beta emmision. So your hypothesis does not have any physical basis.
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