Campbell Biology (11th Edition)

Published by Pearson
ISBN 10: 0-13409-341-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-13409-341-3

Chapter 2 - 2.1 - Concept Check - Page 30: 1


Question: Explain how table salt has emergent properties. (See Concept 1.1.) Suggested Answer: Table salt (sodium chloride) is made up of sodium and chlorine. We are able to eat the compound, showing that it has different properties from those of its components sodium (a metal) and chlorine (a poisonous gas).

Work Step by Step

If something has an emergent property, that means that it has different properties as a whole than its parts do separately. In this case, table salt (NaCl) is a harmless, necessary part of human consumption. It is a compound, however, made up of the two elements Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Cl). Sodium is part of the Alkali Metals group, which are highly reactive when in contact with water, violently erupting. Chlorine is a toxic gas that has been used on its own as a chemical weapon. Both of these have very different properties than that of table salt.
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