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1) How would you categorize water, as a nucleophile or electrophile?

1) How would you categorize water, as a nucleophile or electrophile?
2) Explain why the hydroxide (hydroxyl) ion is much more reactive than water?
3) What structural properties of the water molecule account for its amazing capacity as a polar solvent?
Thank you!


1) Oxygen's electronegative character will lead you to the answer
2) What is different between hydroxyl and water molecules? How does that contribute to hydroxyl's increased reactivity?
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1 Answer

1) Water is a very weak nucleophile due to the lone pairs that are present on the oxygen.
2) hydroxide is the conjugate base of water (OH-). Water in its natural state is fairly comfortable and isn't too keen about making an extra bond with anything else (i.e. reacting to it). 
But OH- is incredibly reactive because it needs to use its negative charge to make a bond with something (i.e react with it).
3)Water is a polar molecule. The reason for this is the electronegativity within the molecule itself, Oxygen has a much higher electronegativity than Hydrogen. The natural bent shape of oxygen results in a dipole moment towards the oxygen from both of the hydrogens, this gives the molecule a net negative dipole towards the oxygen and a net positive dipole towards the hydrogens, allowing it to be the perfect polar solvent.