If you like us, please share us on social media.
The latest UCD Hyperlibrary newsletter is now complete, check it out.

ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry E-textbook > Development Details > Approaches > Demos > Additional Demos > The Solvated Electron

Copyright (c) 2006-2014 MindTouch Inc.

This file and accompanying files are licensed under the MindTouch Master Subscription Agreement (MSA).

At any time, you shall not, directly or indirectly: (i) sublicense, resell, rent, lease, distribute, market, commercialize or otherwise transfer rights or usage to: (a) the Software, (b) any modified version or derivative work of the Software created by you or for you, or (c) MindTouch Open Source (which includes all non-supported versions of MindTouch-developed software), for any purpose including timesharing or service bureau purposes; (ii) remove or alter any copyright, trademark or proprietary notice in the Software; (iii) transfer, use or export the Software in violation of any applicable laws or regulations of any government or governmental agency; (iv) use or run on any of your hardware, or have deployed for use, any production version of MindTouch Open Source; (v) use any of the Support Services, Error corrections, Updates or Upgrades, for the MindTouch Open Source software or for any Server for which Support Services are not then purchased as provided hereunder; or (vi) reverse engineer, decompile or modify any encrypted or encoded portion of the Software.

A complete copy of the MSA is available at http://www.mindtouch.com/msa

The Solvated Electron

Chemical Concepts Demonstrated

  • Ammonia chemistry
  • Ammoniacal solutions
  • Solvated electron chemistry


Dissolve a sodium metal chip into liquid ammonia. nanh2.gif


A blue-colored solution forms.

Explanations (including important chemical equations)

Sodium metal is all too happy to donate an electron in most circumstances.  This case is no exception, although the location to which the electron is donated is a little unusual.

Ammonia's liquid lattice has a recurring gap with a radius of about 3.3 Angstroms.  Through a fortunate orientation of the dipole moments within the lattice, this space can actually accomodate an electron.  Sodium donates the electron to the gap, even though the electron doesn't bond to the ammonia.  In this manner, sodium (or another active metal, such as Na, K, Ba, or Ca) can donate an electron and liquid ammomia doesn't have to pick it up.  This leaves an uncoupled electron in solution, the solvated electron.

The solvated electron gives solutions such as these a blue color and the conductivity of an aqueous solution of an inorganic salt.  If it were concentrated, it would have a bronze color and conduct electricity like a full-blown metal.

Eventually, this solution will lose Hto form sodium amide:

2 Na (s) + 2 NH(l) --> 2 NaNH(s) +   H(g)



You must to post a comment.
Last modified
10:31, 2 Oct 2013



(not set)
(not set)

Creative Commons License Unless otherwise noted, content in the UC Davis ChemWiki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at copyright@ucdavis.edu. Questions and concerns can be directed toward Prof. Delmar Larsen (dlarsen@ucdavis.edu), Founder and Director. Terms of Use