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When are atoms unpredictable?

  1. Dec 14, 2003 #1
    I'm playing with a theory I have at the moment and wondered if anyone could help with giving me some good examples of chemical/molecular bonding in which the partners' an atom will acquire are unpredictable.
    For example if I had 1g of Hydrogen atoms, 8g of oxygen atoms and 3g of carbon would the end result be predictable. If not when are such examples 'unpredictable'?

    Silvershadow
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2003 #2

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    "Predictable?" In principle, yes; in practice, for the C-H-O system (or other system), the data/information required for predicting equilibrium composition, free energies of formation for ALL possible products, is not available. Same thing for any other chemical system --- there is one equilibrium state for any specified overall/total composition and T,P,ρ.
     
  4. Dec 16, 2003 #3
    I don't get it. This equilibrium state, is it always predictable that free molecules and atoms will act a certain way?

    Silvershadow
     
  5. Dec 16, 2003 #4

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    It's called "chemistry." If you mean, "Can the behavior of a specific, labelled atom be predicted?" the answer is no. The example would be predicting the location of an atom or molecule in a container --- see "the drunkard's walk."
     
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