Electrolytes: substances that when dissolved in water split apart, or dissociate, forming ions. When a substance ionizes in a solution, those ions or charges can conduct electricity.
Therefore, an electrolyte can also be said to have electrical conductive properties.
But not all electrolytes are created equally! They can be classified as strong or weak electrolytes, depending on how well they conduct electricity.
- Ionize 100%, therefore generating the maximum amount of ions
- Conduct electricity very well
- Types of Compounds: soluble salts (ionic compounds made of a metal—or ammonia NH4 – and nonmetal) and strong acids and bases.
- Examples: NaCl, MgCl2, HCl, NaOH, NH4Cl
- Chemical Equation: unidirectional, non-reversible
- Only partially ionize (<<<100%), therefore creating fewer ions and not as many charges
- Poor electrical conductors
- Type of Compounds: weak acids and bases, molecular compounds
- Examples: HF, NH3, NH4+, H3PO4, CH3COOH
- Chemical Equation: bidirectional, reversible (so ions can rejoin and reform molecule)
- Do not ionize; generate no ions
- No electrical conduction
- Type of Compounds: alcohols (contain OH, names end in “ol”), sugars (CH2O type formula, names end in “ose”), biological compounds.
- Examples: C6H12O6 (glucose), C2H5OH (ethanol), CO(NH2)2 (urea)
Table of Strong Acids and Bases: