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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 321-324

Reaction of Sodium with Water Vapor a Short Marathon Experiment with Somewhat Unexpected Result

Nataša Stavrevska, Vladimir M. Petruševski* and Vladimir Ivanovski

Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Sts. Cyril and Methodius University, Arhimedova 5, PO Box 162, 1000 Skopje, Repub­lic of Macedonia, vladop@pmf.ukim.mk
Received February 8, 2010. Accepted April 9, 2010.

Published: 31 July 2010

Abstract. Attention was paid to the reaction of sodium with water vapor at room temperature. The reaction lasts for hours, and is an example of a short marathon experiment. The reaction rate appears to be independent of the process duration, thus being in accord with 0th order kinetics. At first, this seems to be inconsistent with some simple chemical reasoning. Two explanations are offered for the differences of the predicted and actual behavior of the system and a decisive experiment was performed to see which explanation is the correct one.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry; chemical kinetics; marathon experiments; sodium, water vapor, reaction of; 0th order kinetics

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: vladop@pmf.ukim.mk)

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