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Author Topic: Magnetic Fields & Chemical Reactions  (Read 3388 times)

Offline partyhat

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Magnetic Fields & Chemical Reactions
« on: 03/02/2006 11:23:33 »

Very much a noob question here (sorry but its been 10 years since I've studied eletromagnets and chemistry in high school).

Can magnetic fields (either stationary or moving) affect chemical reactions?  As I understand it, chemical reactions are due to the sharing and exchange of electrons amongst the atoms that form the molecules.  Since electrons are affected by magnetic fields, wouldn't it be possible to trigger chemical reactions using a magnetic field configuration only?



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Re: Magnetic Fields & Chemical Reactions
« Reply #1 on: 03/02/2006 11:34:34 »
"" Scientists have demonstrated that a weak magnetic field can affect production of a certain molecule found in a photosynthetic bacterium.

This is the first time a magnetic effect of this kind has been seen, says Peter Hore, a physical chemist at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research effort.

Chemists already knew that magnetic fields can affect certain chemical reactions involving radicals, molecules that contain unpaired electrons. But these reactions rely on molecules not found in living creatures"".

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: Magnetic Fields & Chemical Reactions
« Reply #2 on: 03/02/2006 15:48:21 »
This question is probably more suited to the chemistry pages and it might be an idea to repost it there partyhat however I will give you some indications here.

If you look at the electromagnetic interection strengths associated with chemical bonding you will see that the fields close to atoms can be very strong compared with those we find in everyday equipment.

This would apply to alternating fields as well as fixed ones because the energy changes in stable chemical reactions must be higher than the energy in molecules at room temeperature which is well above normal radio frequencies

So it appears unlikely that unless the generated fields are very strong that they will have much effect on chemical reactions.  One possibility could be when a n electrically polarised or magnetic atom is associated with a large molecule suspended in a liquid.  In that case electric or magnetic alignment may increase or decrease the probability that particular parts of the molecule may contact eash other and therefore affect reaction rates.

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« Last Edit: 03/02/2006 15:50:25 by Soul Surfer »

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Re: Magnetic Fields & Chemical Reactions
« Reply #2 on: 03/02/2006 15:48:21 »


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