The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How can you predict the resultant products of a chemical reaction?  (Read 4627 times)

Peter Noble

  • Guest
Peter Noble  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Naked scientists

Love the show! I found out about you when Dave came to my school. He showed me an experiment in which he separated water and put back together again.

My question is about chemical reactions. When you react lots of different materials (i.e carbon, oxygen and hydrogen) why do they react the way they do, can you predict what the new substances will be (i.e a hydrocarbon and oxygen, water and carbon or carbon dioxide and hydrogen) and how?

From Peter Noble

What do you think?


 

Offline HankRearden

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
People who study chemistry as a profession learn to predict certain patterns in the way chemicals will react with each other, and there certainly are alot of rules governing what will generally happen, but a huge portion of it is just trial and error.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8669
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Quite often the reactions give rise to an unholy mess.
Part of the job of chemistry is to make sure that you get the products you want.
 

Offline DrChemistry

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 234
    • View Profile
Some reactions, such as Redox reactions, are well elaborated in tons of books, and knowing the rules (For instance Hydrogen is +1, but in metal hydrides it is -1), predicting the products of a redox reaction is possible. Of course redox reactions have some requirements in order to be able to solve them, which other reactions may not fulfill, and hence need the trial and error.
 

Offline lightarrow

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4586
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • View Profile
My question is about chemical reactions. When you react lots of different materials (i.e carbon, oxygen and hydrogen) why do they react the way they do, can you predict what the new substances will be (i.e a hydrocarbon and oxygen, water and carbon or carbon dioxide and hydrogen) and how?
Yes (partially): go to university, study chemistry for a lot of years, take a master and then you are able to do a little of what you asked...
I'm not joking, it's a serious answer.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums