Water is known as the. Here is an explanation of why water is called the universal solvent and what properties make it good at dissolving other substances. Water is called the universal solvent because more substances dissolve in water than in any other chemical. This has to do with the
of each water molecule. The hydrogen side of each water (H O) molecule carries a slight positive electric charge, while the oxygen side carries a slight negative electric charge. This helps water dissociate ionic compounds into their positive and negative ions. The positive part of an ionic compound is attracted to the oxygen side of water while the negative portion of the compound is attracted to the hydrogen side of the water. For example, consider what happens when salt dissolves in water. Salt is sodium chloride, NaCl. The sodium portion of the compounds carries a positive charge, while the chlorine part carries a negative charge. The two ions are connected by.
The hydrogen and oxygen in the water, on the other hand, are connected by. Hydrogen and oxygen atoms from different water molecules are also connected via hydrogen bonds. When salt is mixed with water, the water molecules orient so that the negative charge oxygen anions faces the sodium ion, while the positive-charged hydrogen cations face the chloride ion. Although ionic bonds are strong, the net effect of the polarity of all the water molecules is enough to pull the sodium and chlorine atoms apart. Once the salt is pulled apart, its ions become evenly distributed, forming a homogeneous solution. If a lot of salt is mixed with water, it won t all dissolve. In this situation, dissolution proceeds until there are too many sodium and chlorine ions in the mixture for water to win the tug-of-water with undissolved salt. Basically, the ions get in the way and prevent the water molecules from completely surrounding the sodium chloride compound. Raising the temperature increases the kinetic energy of the particles, increasing the amount of salt that can be dissolved in the water.
Despite its name as the universal solvent there are many compounds water won t dissolve or won t dissolve well. If the attraction is high between the opposite charged ions in a compound, then the solubility will be low. For example, most of the hydroxide exhibit low solubility in water. Also, nonpolar molecules don t dissolve very well in water, including many organic compounds, such as fats and waxes. In summary, water is called the universal solvent because it dissolves the most substances, not because it actually dissolves every single compound. Have you ever made a beverage from a powdered drink mix? If you put the powdered drink mix in a bottle with water and shake the bottle really hard, the powder will seem to disappear. The powder will dissolve into the water. Not only will powdered drink mix dissolve in water, so will many other substances.
Why is this the case? What makes water such a good solvent? What is so special about water that makes it such a great solvent? A solvent is a substance that other materials dissolve into. It\’s typically a liquid but it\’s sometimes a gas or a solid. Water is called the universal solvent because many materials are able to dissolve in water. The reason that this is true is because of some of water\’s unique properties. Water is a molecule, which is a combination of atoms held together by a chemical bond. Water molecules have what can be referred to as polar arrangement. Each molecule of water is made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, which is why water is often referred to as H20. The hydrogen atoms are located on one side of the molecule and have a positive electrical charge. On the other side of the molecule, is the oxygen atom and which has a negative charge. The three molecules are held together because atoms of opposite charge are attracted to one another.
This polarity –the fact that one side of a water molecule has a negative charge and the other side has a positive charge– is what makes many other substances attracted to the water molecule. The attraction to the water molecule can be so strong for some molecules, that water can break the bonds that hold other molecules together. This is what causes materials to dissolve so well in water. The polarity of water also helps many organisms survive. When materials such as nutrients, vitamins, and other valuable substances come into contact with water and dissolve into it, they travel with it, often through an organism\’s body. This process assists in the delivery of vital materials throughout the organism\’s body. This process also can do the opposite as well. Water works with an animal\’s liver to carry dissolved waste and other toxic materials out of the body, helping to keep the organism healthy.