5. Gain and Loss of Electrons   Previous PageNext Page
       Oxygen Comounds: Acids or Bases?

The same story holds for nitrogen. If a ion were introduced into water, it would instantly pull the lone electron pairs on the oxygen atoms of water molecules toward itself so strongly that the water protons would be released, leaving nitrate ions, . These ions are shown on the right.

A ion would not be satisfied merely with sharing lone pairs from water oxygens in covalent bonds. Fluorine is so electronegative that it would strip the lone pairs completely off the water molecules, picking up four such electron pairs to yield ions (right). The wreckage of the water molecules would remain as molecules and ions:

Although is an imaginary ion, something like this reaction actually occurs when is added to water, as we will see later in this chapter.

These all have been hypothetical experiments (except for and ), but the products are real. The most stable forms of the common oxides of second-shell elements in water solution are the following ions:


The purpose of these imaginary experiments has been to show, in terms of electronegativities and electron-pulling power, why each of the ions above is the prevalent species in solution. With these in mind, we now can turn to the acid-base behavior of the oxides.

  Page 19 of 57 HomeGlossary