What actually happens when compounds are dissolved in solution?

You have probably seen the magical power of dissolving salt or sugar in water but you probably have never wondered what actually happened to the crystal looking water solid once it enters the liquid water.

As it was stated above in mixing solution rules, polar molecules will form solutions with other polar molecules. So if we were to look at NaCl in water, what actually happens?

Since NaCl is an ionic solid (non-metal with a metal), the cation(+) Sodium ion and the anion (-) chlorine atom dissociates or separates in solution. The subscript (aq) is then placed after to indicate that the ions have been dissociated in a water solution.


NaCl(s) à Na+(aq) + Cl+(aq)

The (aq) represents Aqueous or dissolved in water

If the NaCl or the ions are all separated once they are in solution, where do they go?

The cations and the anions orient and re-position themselves in a manner called the Solvation process.

The solvation process basically means that the positive ions will position themselves and attracted to the negative side of water while the negative ions will position themselves and attracted to the position side of water.  

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The solvation process: The above diagrams shows how the solute is dissociated and become attracted to the respective ends of the solvent.