MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Why, structurally speaking, is diamond not soluable in water?

Date: Thu Dec 2 13:28:41 1999
Posted By: In Koo Kim, Grad student, Atmospheric Physical Chemistry, University of Colorado @ Boulder
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 943922505.Ch

Diamond does not dissolve in water for two reasons.  First, it is a pure 
crystal with covalently bonded carbons.  The energy required to break these 
tetrahedrally oriented carbon-carbon bonds is far greater than any energy 
released by solvation.  NaCl has ionic bonding outside water, which can 
dissociate.  Dissociation is more likely here because it is very polar 
(electronegative chlorine).  Conversely, the carbon-carbon bonds share the 
electrons more equitably and no stability is gained through solvation in 
water.  Second, even if diamond could dissolve (weak bonds) it wouldn't 
dissolve in water. It would be in an organic compound like hexane because, 
after all, diamond is organic (made of carbon).

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