What is the theory of electrolytic dissociation?


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The theory of electrolytic dissociation, also known as the Arrhenius theory, was proposed by Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius in 1884. It provides an explanation for the behavior of electrolytes, which are substances that can conduct electricity when dissolved in a solvent, typically water.

According to the theory of electrolytic dissociation, when an ionic compound (such as salt) is dissolved in water, it dissociates or breaks apart into its constituent ions. The process of dissociation occurs due to the interaction of the ionic compound with the solvent molecules, specifically the water molecules.

For example, when sodium chloride (NaCl) dissolves in water, it dissociates into sodium ions (Na+) and chloride ions (Cl-):
NaCl(s) → Na+(aq) + Cl-(aq)

The charged ions are moving freely in the solution and show electrical conductivity in the electrolytic solution which depends on the number of ions present in the solution and the degree of dissociation shows whether an electrolyte is weak or strong. It is donated by Alpha(𝛂).
𝛂 = Number of the moles dissociated / Initial number of the moles