Thursday, 14 May 2015

Unit One, Matter and Bonding: Should "Vibrational Bonds", A New Third Type of Chemical Bond, Be Added to the High School Curriculum?

Chemical bonding, which is defined by the electrostatic attracted between two or more atoms of opposite charged, which allows for the creation of chemical compounds, is a concept that is a key building block in our understanding of matter. It has been commonly accepted that there are two types of chemical bonding. Ionic bonding, in which electrons are given by a metal to a non metal to create an ionic bonding, and Covalent bonding, in which electrons are shared between two non metals. Many aspects of the identification of matter—such as solubility, malleability, polarity, conductivity, boiling and melting point etc.— are dependent on the type of bond that is present. As such, is important that chemists understand and are able to make reasonable assumptions based on their knowledge of chemical bonding.

However, recently a new type of chemical bond known as a “vibrational bond” has been discovered, shaking the foundation of what had been long accepted as true within the scientific community. This type of bond is a temporary, millisecond long reaction, in which a lightweight atom will rapidly bounce between two heavier atoms. This bond, which was hypothesized, to exist in the 1980’s, before the technology needed to monitor the millisecond in which in occurred was developed. The interesting part about this reaction is how, unlike covalent and ionic bonds, the rate of reaction decreases with increased temperature.  This is because the vibrations of the oscillating atom temporarily hold the two heavier atoms together, which decreases the overall energy and speed of the reaction.

So, how does this relate to society? Well, as with all new scientific discoveries, the practical applications are still in the works. However, the team who conducted the experiment has stated that vibrational bonds should be taught as a type of chemical reaction. This development in such a major area of chemistry has the potential to change the curriculum and workplace expectations, as well as redefining our current understanding of the properties of matter.

What do you think? Do you think that this millisecond long reaction should be incorporated into the High-school curriculum? And given what we have learned about chemical bonds, what kinds of qualities should these chemical interactions be tested for?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whether or not this type of reaction should be included in the high school curriculum is a decision which likely depends on what knowledge is required in order for concept to be understood.Furthermore, if it is a concept which would not contribute to any further useful understanding of chemistry at the high school level, there is no real use in including it. However, if it could be integrated with the curriculum and understood in the context of the high school chemistry curriculum then it may as well be included such that students be provided with most well rounded knowledge and understanding of chemistry as is possible to give them. In a time where we have made so much scientific progress and are aware of so much, I find it that new discoveries can be made new discoveries can be made, opening up new concepts for us to grasp and further knowledge to gain.