WIAS Preprint No. 2443, (2017)

On the dissociation degree of ionic solutions considering solvation effects


  • Landstorfer, Manuel

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 78A57 35Q35 34B15


  • ion pairs, dissociation degree, double layer, solvation shell, mixture theory




In this work the impact of solvation effects on the dissociation degree of strong electrolytes and salts is discussed. The investigation is based on a thermodynamic model which is capable to predict qualitatively and quantitatively the double layer capacity of various electrolytes. A remarkable relationship between capacity maxima, partial molar volume of ions in solution, and solvation numbers, provides an experimental access to determine the number of solvent molecules bound to a specific ion in solution. This shows that the Stern layer is actually a saturated solution of 1 mol L-1 solvated ions, and we point out some fundamental similarities of this state to a saturated bulk solution. Our finding challenges the assumption of complete dissociation, even for moderate electrolyte concentrations, whereby we introduce an undissociated ion-pair in solution. We re-derive the equilibrium conditions for a two-step dissociation reaction, including solvation effects, which leads to a new relation to determine the dissociation degree. A comparison to Ostwald's dilution law clearly shows the shortcomings when solvation effects are neglected and we emphasize that complete dissociation is questionable beyond 0.5 mol L-1 for aqueous, mono-valent electrolytes.

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