|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Hello Robert, The first two compounds you mention have the general structure: R | + _ [ R-N-R ] X | R Compounds of this general structure (like tetrabutyl ammonium halides) are used in organic chemistry as organic soluble halide sources or as phase transfer catalysts for biphasic reactions where one reactant is in the aqueous phase and another is in the organic phase. I suspect the particular compounds you cite are optimized for attacking a microbe's cell membrane which can be viewed as a very thin biphasic system, hence their disinfectant properties. Bleach (also a pretty good disinfectant) is a strong oxidizer that can attack alcohols, amines, multiple bonds, as well as sulfides, phosphines, some metals, and many other electron rich species. However, it does not oxidize chloride ion and tetraalkylammonium species are fairly inert to oxidation as well. Bleach can also initiate radical processes. In a system like what you are talking about it would be impossible to predict the chemical outcome of such a process because most of the C-H bonds in each molecule would be roughly equally susceptible to attack and the radical intermediate formed could decompose by a number of possible pathways. If such a radical process occured it would likely lead to uncharacterizable mixtures and/or polymers. And, as temperature was increased any such process would be accelerated. Finally, a third process must be considered. Bleach is formed by the reaction of sodium hydroxide with chlorine gas. This is a reversible reaction but under basic or neutral conditions the equilibrium lies toward NaOCl. However, under acidic conditions the equilibrium shifts back toward the chlorine gas/NaOH direction releasing deadly chlorine gas from the reaction. 2NaOH + Cl-Cl <===> NaCl + HOCl + H2O Based on this equilibrium it can be predicted that increasing the chloride ion concentration would drive the reaction toward chlorine gas as well. Furthermore, at elevated temperature the chlorine gas would have less solubility in the water and would have greater tendency to leave solution which would also drive the equilibrium toward chlorine gas. I think this is the most likely outcome of the reaction you propose in your question. Please be advised that chlorine gas is noxious and deadly!! Also, it is not a good idea to mix any household cleaners, particularly ones containing bleach. I hope this information was helpful. Thanks for the question.
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