Comparing the Solubility of Chemicals in Water
“Water is known as the “universal solvent” because so many different substances dissolve in it and we rely on this for many of our daily needs.”
Introduction: Water is known as the ‘universal solvent’ as it is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances and dissolves more substances than any other liquid. However the ability to be soluble depends on a substances polarity and bonding. This then contributes to the various ways that different types of chemicals interact in water.
Solubility is crucial to every living thing on earth as water can carry along valuable chemicals, minerals, and nutrients necessary for survival. In fact Water covers 70% of the Earths
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Water is made up of a special bond called hydrogen bonding which is a strong intermolecular force created by the relative positivity of hydrogen atoms. Sugar and citric acid are covalent molecular solids, where relatively weak intermolecular forces hold individual molecules together. Salt has an ionic bond that contains positive and negative ions that are held together by the strong force of attraction between particles with opposite charges. When a substance dissolves in solution, the weak bonds between the individual substance molecules are broken, and these molecules are released into solution. The amount of attraction water molecules have for particles of a solid compared to the attraction the solid particles have for each other determines the solubility of the solid. It takes energy to break the bonds between molecules in a substance. It also takes energy to break the hydrogen bonds in water that must be disrupted to insert one of these molecules into solution. Sugar dissolves in water because energy is given off when the slightly polar sucrose molecules form intermolecular bonds with the polar water molecules. The weak bonds that form between the solute and the solvent compensate for the energy needed to disrupt the structure of both the pure solute and the solvent. Ionic compounds dissolve in water if the energy given off when the ions interact with water molecules compensates for the energy needed to