Chelation

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chelation refers to the bonding of elemental atoms that cannot normally be bonded. For example, Sodium is a metal element that can bond with many other elements, like chlorine (forming common table salt: NaCl), or hydrogen and oxygen (Sodium hydroxide). The reason for this is that the way that atoms bond with each other is similar to a jigsaw puzzle: Only the proper shape can fit into the empty space made by the other pieces. However, with atoms, it's a bit different. For each element, the atom carries a certain number of electrons in orbit around its nucleus. Sometimes these orbits are split into levels, and only a certain number of electrons can fill each orbit before moving to a higher orbit.

Sometimes, an orbit level is not filled all the way and can only be filled with electrons from another element with a smaller number of electrons in a higher level. When the atoms bond together, the electrons are traded between the two equally and create a very strong bond.

However, there are a few elements that cannot bond with many other elements, because they have orbits that are already filled, or nearly filled, equally. (Like a finished jigsaw puzzle) These elements can sometimes be poisonous to a human, and cannot be removed easily (for example, mercury.) Chelation enables a non-bonding element to bond, thereby enabling removal.