Interesting online CONFCHEM discussion going on right now on the ChemWiki and
greater STEMWiki Hyperlibary project. Come join the discussion.

ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry Hypertext > Under Construction > Demonstrations > Additional Demos > The Solvated Electron

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 Questions and concerns can be directed toward Prof. Delmar Larsen (, Founder and Director. Terms of Use