Why does salt dissolve in water?
But just why does salt dissolve in water?
There are some questions in life that you never really think about until they stare you in the face – and once the question hits you, it keeps nagging at your brain. As you were cooking, you probably placed some salt in water and noticed how it dissolved almost immediately. Why does that happen? Well, the answer to that is pretty much the result of a chemical reaction.
Looking at it from a molecular perspective, salt dissolves in water as a result of an electrical charge. Moreover, both water and salt compounds are polar, featuring negative and positive charges on the molecular opposite side. Salt has bonding compounds called ionic, which have an electric charge in both negative and positive ends.
Water molecules are also pretty much ionic, but their bond has the name of covalent. The covalent has two hydrogen atoms found with positive charges on one side of the atom, the one featuring the negative charge.
When you mix salt with water, this bond will dissolve. This is simply because the covalent bonds residing in water are much tougher in comparison to the ionic bonds that you can find in salt molecules.
Opposites attract. The water molecules that were positively charged are attracted to the salt’s negatively charged ions. The vice-versa situation also occurs. The result is pretty much a tug-a-war where both sides want to win, but the water is the one that ends up victorious. The compounds in the salt are pulled apart as the atoms are surrounded by water.
This is pretty much why we don’t see the salt, but we taste it. The salt may have broken down, but it is still in the water. The only difference is that it’s so small now, and surrounded by water molecules, that we cannot see it.