# What are the spectator ions in Na^+ + OH^- + H^+ + Cl^- -> H_2O + Na^+ + Cl?

Sep 8, 2017

The sodium and chloride ions......

#### Explanation:

When we write the neutralization reaction.....

$N a O H \left(a q\right) + H C l \left(a q\right) \rightarrow N a C l \left(a q\right) + {H}_{2} O \left(l\right)$

...bond formation has clearly occurred for the formation of water, i.e. strong $O - H$ bonds have been formed..... However, the metal and non-metal ions remain in solution as their aquated ions; we write $N a C l \left(a q\right)$, what we really mean is the aquated sodium cation, which is possibly ${\left[N a {\left\{{\left(O H\right)}_{2}\right\}}_{6}\right]}^{+}$, a coordination complex if you like where the water molecule is the donor....and a similar aquated chloride complex.

And when we get the reactants into solution, ${\left[N a {\left\{{\left(O H\right)}_{2}\right\}}_{6}\right]}^{+}$, remains substantially unchanged during the reaction; it is a SPECTATOR that cheers on the bond-making reaction between the ACTIVE hydroxide and protium ions.....

${H}_{3} {O}^{+} + H {O}^{-} \rightarrow 2 {H}_{2} O \left(l\right)$

If you have further queries fire away, because this is a very important formalism to appreciate.