electrolyte

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electrolyte

(ĭlĕk`trəlīt'), electrical conductor in which current is carried by ionsion,
atom or group of atoms having a net electric charge. Positive and Negative Electric Charges

A neutral atom or group of atoms becomes an ion by gaining or losing one or more electrons or protons.
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 rather than by free electrons (as in a metal). Electrolytes include water solutions of acids, bases, or salts; certain pure liquids; and molten salts. Gases may act as electrolytes under conditions of high temperature or low pressure. All inorganic acids, bases, and salts are electrolytes. Electrolytic substances are classified as strong or weak according to how readily they dissociate into conducting ions. Potassium chloride and sodium hydroxide are strong electrolytes; they are almost completely dissociated when in solution or fused. Acetic acid is a weak electrolyte. An electrolyte is decomposed when a current passes through it (see electrolysiselectrolysis
, passage of an electric current through a conducting solution or molten salt that is decomposed in the process. The Electrolytic Process

The electrolytic process requires that an electrolyte, an ionized solution or molten metallic salt, complete an
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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Electrolyte

 

a liquid or solid compound or system in which some noticeable concentration of ions that provide for the passage of electric current is present. In the narrow sense, electrolytes are substances whose solutions conduct electric current by means of ions, formed as a result of electrolytic dissociation.

A distinction is made between strong and weak electrolytes in solution. Strong electrolytes virtually completely dissociate into ions in dilute solutions. They include many inorganic salts and several inorganic acids and bases in aqueous solutions and in solvents possessing high dissociating capacity, such as alcohols and amides. The molecules of weak electrolytes in solution are only partially dissociated into ions, which are in dynamic equilibrium with the undissociated molecules. Weak electrolytes include most organic acids and many organic bases in aqueous and nonaqueous solvents. The division of electrolytes into strong and weak electrolytes is somewhat arbitrary, since it reflects not the properties of the electrolytes themselves but their state in solution, which depends on the concentration, on the nature of the solvent, on temperature, and on pressure.

On the basis of the number of ions into which one electrolyte molecule dissociates in solution, a distinction is made between binary electrolytes (written 1–1 electrolytes; for example, KCl), unibivalent electrolytes (written 1–2 electrolytes; for example, CaCl2), and so forth. Electrolytes of types 1–1, 2–2, and 3–3 are called symmetrical electrolytes, while electrolytes of types 1–2 and 1–3 are called nonsymmetrical electrolytes.

The properties of dilute solutions of weak electrolytes are described satisfactorily by the classical theory of electrolytic dissociation. The theory is inapplicable for insufficiently dilute solutions of weak electrolytes and for solutions of strong electrolytes, since these are complex systems consisting of ions, undissociated molecules or ion pairs, and larger aggregates. The properties of such solutions are determined by the nature of the ion-ion and ion-solvent interactions and by changes in the properties and structure of the solvent caused by the dissolved particles. The modern statistical theories of strong electrolytes adequately describe the properties of only very dilute solutions (<0.1 mole/liter).

Electrolytes are extremely important in science and technology. All liquid systems in living organisms contain electrolytes. Polyelectrolytes constitute an important class of electrolytes (seePOLYELECTROLYTE). Electrolytes are a medium for carrying out many chemical syntheses and electrochemical production processes. Nonaqueous electrolyte solutions are playing an ever increasing role in these applications. The study of the properties of electrolyte solutions is important in the design of new chemical sources of electric current and the improvement of technological processes for the separation of compounds by extraction from solution and ion exchange.

REFERENCES

See references under .

A. I. MISHUSTIN

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

electrolyte

[i′lek·trə‚līt]
(physical chemistry)
A chemical compound which when molten or dissolved in certain solvents, usually water, will conduct an electric current.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

electrolyte

1. a solution or molten substance that conducts electricity
2. 
a. a chemical compound that dissociates in solution into ions
b. any of the ions themselves
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

electrolyte

A liquid, gelatinous or solid material that contains ions. In a battery, the electrolyte is the material that allows electricity to flow from one plate to another (between positive and negative electrodes). See battery, lithium polymer, solid state battery and batteries.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
Correlation between serum electrolytes and clinical outcome in children admitted to PICU.
When two pieces of carbon electrodes are immersed in an electrolyte, they form an amazingly effective double capacitor connected in a series.
If interested in sampling or licensing Wildcat's new electrolytes, please contact the company for additional information.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential minerals, many of which are the electrolytes that we need in our bodies, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
We conclude from our study that the biochemical parameters like serum electrolytes (Na+, K+, Cl-) can act as modifiable risk factors in age related cataract.
Hashmi, "Ion transport and ion-filler-polymer interaction in poly(methyl methacrylate)-based, sodium ion conducting, gel polymer electrolytes dispersed with silica nanoparticles," Journal of Power Sources, vol.
Differential scanning calorimetry is an effective tool for analyzing the thermal analysis of the materials such as glass transition temperature ([T.sub.g]) and melting temperature ([T.sub.m]) in the polymer electrolytes. The DSC spectra of PVA/PVP : Mg[Cl.sub.2] x 6[H.sub.2]O polymer films with different wt% ratios were shown in Figure 4.
Electrolytes, which are central to a battery, are salts composed of positive and negative ions.
could open the door to the design of new solid electrolytes and thus the development of new molecular devices," Moriya concludes.
Too much salt leads to a cellular inability to absorb other necessary electrolytes, she adds.
Electrolyte and acid base imbalances are frequently observed in cattle afflicted with diseases or syndromes (CONSTABLE, 2003), with diarrhea remaining the major cause in calves.
In the present work, a more practical and innovative method was proposed for the synthesis of high ionic conductivity and stable boron containing PEG branched electrolytes for faster charge-discharging applications.

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