Is there a material that oxidizes in air but not water? Or vice versa?
September 25, 2017 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Assume normal Earth air and Earth water. "Material" can be an element or a compound or a sheep or whatever.
posted by fiercecupcake to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
oxidizes immediately (or fairly quickly), or just oxidizes at all ?

And the chemistry definition (LEO says GER) or the layman's definition (rusts) ?
posted by k5.user at 10:18 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]

If by "oxidizes" you mean burn, any of the alkali metals.
posted by gregr at 10:44 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]

A couple of forms of phosphorous are stored under water, because they will oxidize rapidly in air. But they will still oxidize slowly with any dissolved oxygen in the water.
posted by Jobst at 10:45 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]

Yeah, water is going to have air dissolved in it... Not much, but enough to react with whatever's being stored in there given enough time.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:29 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]

Since the language you used is imprecise, I guess you are thinking about "normal" air and water. Like, a cup of water from your faucet or a water bottle and regular air in your house.

In that case the answer is pretty much going to be no - because water contains dissolved gasses from air - oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. So, your substance will oxidize in water the same as in air, except slower.

You could create a situation where your water is nearly pure H20 (distilled water, high temp and pressure) in that case unless your substance reacts directly with H20 it will not oxidize.
posted by no1hatchling at 7:29 AM on September 26

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