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Name: Sheri H.
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Question:
When hydrogen spews out its only electron, where does the electron go?



Replies:
Sheri,

It depends on what type of environment the hydrogen atom is in. First off, hydrogen exist in nature as a diatom, meaning that hydrogen gass is H2, not H1. If you are talking about hydrogen inside of the sun, then the elevated temperature gives the atom so much energy that the electron is elevated to (somewhere about) the 22nd S-orbital. This condition is called plasma and the electrons and protons are now a sea with no real attachments to eachother, only distant interactions.

If you are talking about an hydrogen atom in an small organic molecule (like water), then a negatively charged atom can take the proton and the electron is transfered to the oxygen on water, which is left as a hydroxyl group (-OH).

It is also possible to eject the electron via radiation stimulation, which usually takes place within a particle accelerator. The proton and the electron would then be trapped in a magnetic field and accelerated for whatever use.

Matt Voss



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