I am supposed to find the most reactive compound among the following:

$\ce{NO, NO2, N2O, NO3-}$

Is $\ce{NO3-}$ the most reactive because it is an ion or doesn't it being an ion necessarily mean more reactive? Or is it related to the oxidation state of nitrogen?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ There is no such thing as the most reactive compound, unless you specify what is it going to react with. Depending on that, the answer can be almost anything. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 17 '16 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Ivan Isn't stability an index of reactivity? Surely that's independent of what the species are going to react with? [Have I overlooked something?] $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Nov 17 '16 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe, but stability is not a thing either, unless you specify... $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 17 '16 at 11:39

OK, here is one example:

Reactivity with atmospheric oxygen at room temperature. NO reacts spontaneously with O2 to give NO2, whereas the other three are stable to atmospheric oxygen.

Here is another:

Reactivity with water: NO and NO2 react with water at ambient temperatures to form acids (nitrous and nitric) whereas N2O and nitrate ion are stable to water.

Here is another:

Reactivity with itself: NO2 is in a reversible equilibrium with its dimer N2O4, and similarly NO dimerizes to give N2O2 - especially favored at low temperatures. However, N2O and nitrate ion do not react with themselves.

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