How Do You Know if a Reaction Will Occur in Chemistry?

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You can tell if a reaction will occur in chemistry by keeping a close eye out for a few key things. Find out how you know if a reaction will occur in chemistry with help from an experienced chemistry professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Chemistry & Biology Concepts
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Hi, I'm Robin Higgins, and this is how do you know if a reaction will occur in chemistry. Alright, this is a really complicated question actually, and there's really no straight forward answer. Usually in beginning chemistry, general chemistry, they'll just tell you, they'll say it make something or it doesn't. Then you can kind of figure it out. There's really only a couple of things you can look for otherwise to see if it will make a reaction, and they're not hard and fast. So one thing is comparing valence electrons. If you have something between let's say sodium and fluorine, you're trying to determine if it has a reaction that happens, you can look at the valence electrons. So, you can say, well sodium has one, and fluorine has seven, and if we're following the octet rule, this means that sodium can just donate this one over here, and you can get this. So if the valence electrons match up to give your elements a complete octet, then that's a pretty good indication that a reaction will happen. Another one you can look for is anything extremely reactive. So if you have lone pairs in a charge, so for instance if you have this oxygen over here by itself, it has a negative charge on it, that negative charge is going to want to react. So if you have, just say like a carbonyl, this reaction's going to want to happen. And something else very radical, reactive is radicals. So if you just have a lone electron or a radical, these are extremely reactive, and so they're definitely going to combine with something to form some kind of product. So besides this, I'd really just pay attention to the problem, see if you've seen those two things react before, or if someone is telling you they, you know, produce heat, that means a reaction's happening, or if something else like that. There's no really one or few rules that overall decide if something's going to react or not. I'm Robin Higgins and this is how do you tell if a reaction happens in chemistry.

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