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By Kristi Lew

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Extra resources for Chemical Reactions (Essential Chemistry)

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Remember that inside the nucleus of the atom, there are subatomic particles called protons and neutrons. Orbiting the nucleus is another type of subatomic particle, called electrons. Electrons are the parts of the atom that take part in chemical bonding. Chemical bonds occur when atoms gain, lose, or share electrons. Chemical reactions happen when these chemical bonds are formed or when they are ­broken. Electrons move around the nucleus of an atom in energy levels, which are sometimes called shells or orbitals.

The halogens can be found in Group 17 on the periodic table. The activity of the halogens decreases as you go down Group 17. Fluorine is the most active and iodine is the ­least. 1 The activity series indicates how easily metals can be oxidized. Metals at the top of the list are more likely to oxidize (give up electrons) than metals at the bottom of the ­list. In the following reaction, the chlorine (Cl) replaces the iodine (I) in the compound potassium iodide (KI) because chlorine is more active: Cl2 + 2 KI → 2 KCl + ­ I2 element compound different ­ different compound ­ element 40 chemical Reactions On the other hand, a reaction between bromine (Br2) and sodium chloride (NaCl), will not ­occur: Br2 + NaCl → no ­reaction; element compound bromine cannot take the place of ­chlorine No reaction occurs because bromine is not active enough to re­place the chlorine in the ­compound.

With the hydrogen atoms sharing their electrons, the oxygen atom now has eight electrons in its outermost shell, making it stable. Each hydrogen atom gets an electron to share, giving it two electrons on its outermost electron shell. Hydrogen, like helium, only has one energy level, which can hold a maximum of two electrons. When the hydrogen shares an electron with oxygen, its outermost energy level is full and it is ­stable. All this giving up, taking in, and sharing of electrons are the ways in which atoms are rearranged to form different chemical compounds and molecules when they react during chemical reactions.

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