I wonder what made you pick sodium and polonium
as the two elements you wanted to ask about.
Before we talk about your specific question, I
want to talk about chemical reactions in general.
You probably know that everything is made up of
molecules and that molecules are made up of atoms
which are "stuck together" with what is called a
chemical bond. An example is water, which
is made from two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen
atom. You probably also know that atoms have a
nucleus which is very, very tiny and that,
surrounding the nucleus, there are particles
called electrons. It turns out that the
kind of bonds that an atom can form are completely
determined by the number of electrons that
surround each atom.
One thing that can happen is that an atom can
give up an electron. Since the nucleus of an atom
is positively charged and every electron is
negatively charged, when an atom gives up an
electron, it becomes positively charged.
Sodium is an atom which can give up a single
electron. Another thing that can happen is
that an atom can accept an extra electron, which
makes it negatively charged. Chlorine is an
atom which can accept a single electron.
So when you combine chlorine and sodium, the
sodium atoms become positively charged and the
chlorine atoms become negatively charged -- and
since opposite charges attract, the sodium and
chlorine atoms attract each other. This kind of
bond is called an ionic bond. You may have
heard of what you get when you combine sodium and
chlorine...you get table salt.
There are other kinds of chemical bonds.
Another important kind of bond is a "covalent
bond" in which atoms share electrons. This
comes up a lot in the study of the chemistry of
living things. Another thing you should know
about chemical bonds is that some atoms form bonds
more easily than others and that some bonds take
energy to form and some give up energy when they
are formed. For example, when you combine
hydrogen and oxygen to make water, there is a lot
of energy released (in the form of an explosion!).
What I have explained to you is a big subject
and there is a lot of stuff to know, but the
amazing thing is that all of these complications
come from a few simple objects: atoms and
electrons. If you understand atoms and
electrons then the understanding how chemistry
works will be much easier.
Now onto sodium and polonium. Polonium is an
element which is extremely radioactive and most of
the information I could find about it involve
radioactivity. I did manage to find a
little about out about some of the molecules that
polonium can form. It would seem that polonium
can accept two electrons and that a single
polonium atom can combine with two sodium atoms to
make sodium polonide. Unfortunately,
that's all I've been able to find out about
combining sodium and polonium.
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