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High School Chemistry Grade 10-12

High School Chemistry Grade 10-12

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The Free High School Science Texts: Textbooks for High School Students Studying the Sciences Physics Grade 12 Copyright c 2007 “Free High School Science Texts” Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front- Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License” Webpage: http://www.fhsst.org/
The Free High School Science Texts: Textbooks for High School Students Studying the Sciences Physics Grade 12 Copyright c 2007 “Free High School Science Texts” Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front- Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License” Webpage: http://www.fhsst.org/

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07/04/2015

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You may remember from chapter 5 that water is a polar molecule (figure 20.1). This means

that one part of the molecule has a slightly positive charge and the other part has a slightly
negative charge.

δ+

δ−

H2O

Figure 20.1: Water is a polar molecule

It is the polar nature of water that allows ionic compounds to dissolve in it. In the case of

sodium chloride (NaCl) for example, the positive sodium ions (Na+

) will be attracted to the

negative pole of the water molecule, while the negative chloride ions (Cl−

) will be attracted to
the positive pole of the water molecule. In the process, the ionic bonds between the sodium

and chloride ions are weakened and the water molecules are able to work their way between the
individual ions, surrounding them and slowly dissolving the compound. This process is called

dissociation. A simplified representation of this is shown in figure 20.2.

Definition: Dissociation

Dissociation in chemistry and biochemistry is a general process in which ionic compounds
separate or split into smaller molecules or ions, usually in a reversible manner.

Na+

Cl−

Cl−

Cl−

Cl−

H2O

H2O

H2O

H2O

δ−

δ−

δ−

δ−

δ+

δ+

δ+

δ+

Figure 20.2: Sodium chloride dissolves in water

The dissolution of sodium chloride can be represented by the following equation:

NaCl(s)→Na+

(aq) +Cl−

(aq)

The symbols s (solid), l (liquid), g (gas) and aq (material is dissolved in water) are written after

the chemical formula to show the state or phase of the material. The dissolution of potassium
sulphate into potassium and sulphate ions is shown below as another example:

380

CHAPTER 20. THE HYDROSPHERE - GRADE 10

20.5

K2SO4(s)→2K+

(aq) +SO2−

4 (aq)

Remember that molecular substances (e.g. covalent compounds) may also dissolve, but most

will not form ions. One example is sugar.

C6H12O6(s)⇔C6H12O6(aq)

There are exceptions to this and some molecular substances will form ions when they dissolve.

Hydrogen chloride for example can ionise to form hydrogen and chloride ions.

HCl(g)→H+

(aq) +Cl−

(aq)

Interesting

Fact

teresting

Fact

The ability of ionic compounds to dissolve in water is extremely important in

the human body! The body is made up of cells, each of which is surrounded

by a membrane. Dissolved ions are found inside and outside of body cells, in
different concentrations. Some of these ions are positive (e.g. Mg2+

) and some

are negative (e.g. Cl−

). If there is a difference in the charge that is inside and
outside the cell, then there is a potential difference across the cell membrane.

This is called the membrane potential of the cell. The membrane potential

acts like a battery and affects the movement of all charged substances across the
membrane. Membrane potentials play a role in muscle functioning, digestion,

excretion and in maintaining blood pH, to name just a few. The movement of

ions across the membrane can also be converted into an electric signal that can
be transferred along neurons (nerve cells), which control body processes. If ionic

substances were not able to dissociate in water, then none of these processes
would be possible! It is also important to realise that our bodies can lose ions

such as Na+

, K+

, Ca2+

, Mg2+

, and Cl−

, for example when we sweat during

exercise. Sports drinks such as Lucozade and Powerade are designed to replace
these lost ions so that the body’s normal functioning is not affected.

Exercise: Ions in solution

1. For each of the following, say whether the substance is ionic or molecular.

(a) potassium nitrate (KNO3)

(b) ethanol (C2H5OH)

(c) sucrose sugar (C12H22O11

(d) sodium bromide (NaBr)

2. Write a balanced equation to show how each of the following ionic compounds
dissociate in water.

(a) sodium sulphate (Na2SO4)

(b) potassium bromide (KBr)

(c) potassium permanganate (KMNO4)

(d) sodium phosphate (Na3PO4)

381

20.5

CHAPTER 20. THE HYDROSPHERE - GRADE 10

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