# Can a cation form a bond with only the oxygen in hydroxide ion?

$$\ce{Al2O3 + 2 NaOH → 2 NaAlO2 + H2O}$$

In this reaction between an amphoteric oxide and a base, I do not understand how $$\ce{Al}$$ makes a bond with oxygen atoms since the water is found in the solution as hydroxide ion and my guess would be that it would make a bond with the hydroxide ion itself.

(just a high school chemistry student)

• You mean hydroxide ion, I guess? – The_Vinz May 23 at 5:43
• So what do you propose as a result of this reaction? What reaction, really, you just show a sum formula. Conditions? – Karl May 23 at 5:53
• Also: it looks like the reaction takes place at high temperature in molten sodium hydroxide: no water is found in the reactants freepatentsonline.com/2159843.html – The_Vinz May 23 at 5:56
• This said, even if the structure is not representative of the real nature of aluminium oxide, you could try to work on a starting formula of this kind: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Al3O2.png (the image is clearly mislabeled, but it's indeed aluminium oxide). You can write a mechanism thinking in terms of nucleophiles and electrophiles – The_Vinz May 23 at 6:08