The Uses And Chemistry Of Salt
Salts are organic ionic substances that, when dissolved in water, become broken down into simple ions. They arise from the spontaneous reaction of chemicals with bases, and generally they contain either a hydrophobic metal ion or a non-metal ion. The names of the different salts are used for the properties of the salts at room temperature; however, there is considerable inter-relationship among the salts and the different elements of the periodic table. This is particularly true of the sodium salts of table salt (NaCl). This article considers the chemistry of sodium chloride and other common salts and the effects of their solubility on the various medical applications.
All salts have a density of less than one centigrade. Most salts have a molecular weight of about two hundred to eight hundred kilogrammes per molecule, which is significantly less than the weight of many of the most important element compounds (e.g. gold, titanium, phosphorus etc.). It is not surprising therefore that the ions of salts are less abundant than the electrone molecules, which make up the major component ions of the various compounds that we use for medical purposes.
Salts are composed of two main ions that can be separated: a combination of one or more alkaline and acid components and a combination of two or more base or alkaline components. The alkali ions play a major role in the dissolving of the salt into its constituent ions. These salts are soluble in absolute water. Soluble salts can be used as components of chemical compounds because they are capable of mixing with small amounts of water to liberate large quantities of hydrogen and oxygen.
The chemistry of the salts is usually studied in terms of electronegativities, which can be either positive or negative. When a salt is ionized, it forms cations, which are atoms with an extra electron in their orbitals. Electron mobility is the dominant feature in cation exchange. The cations have different valences and can be found in different states depending on their position in the crystal lattice. There are three common cation states known as orthohydrogen, hydrogens and alkalies, which can be further divided into two general categories: non-polar and polar.
Almost all salts are polar in nature, which means that they are either highly negative or highly positive and can only be differentiated from alkalies by their refractive index. The refractive index of a substance is a measure of the speed at which it reflects light. Most salts exhibit a highly refractive index, which means that light rays passing through them are reflected rather than transmitted. Although salts have a nearly perfect crystal lattice arrangement, they are much less efficient in energy transfer than do alkalies because of the relatively low temperatures at which they crystallize. Salts tend to bond with larger molecules rather than smaller ones, which limits their ability to transport energy across crystal lattices.
Many salts can be transformed into sodium chloride (NaCl) or potassium chloride (KCl). These compounds are used extensively as plastic substitutes because, although quite soft by nature, they are still stiff enough to be formed into sheets that can withstand repeated stretching without tearing. Because of their elasticity, e.g., KCl, NaCl, etc., they are often shaped into sheets or flakes that are applied to a wide range of applications, including gas bottles, oven gloves, etc. Many people, especially those in industries where large amounts of fluids are required to be transported, use sodium-based salts for this reason. A standard mixing vessel for preparing KCl or NaCl salt involves a mixing tube to separate the salt from its diluting phase.
All salts exhibit an interplay between crystal lattice structures and chemical bonding, which results in their electronic charges. Generally, there are four main classifications of salt crystal structures; monocipolar (one pole only), polyphasic (two poles only), bifurcation (bonded polar phases) and mixed salt. Although there is no universal composition, most salts form chloride-saturated polar solvents with a pH close to 8. The most commonly encountered salt crystals display the following general composition:
The most commonly encountered salt is sodium chloride (NaCl), a powdery substance that has a pleasant flavor and is frequently included in cooking and baking recipes. Most table salt is white or grayish in color, whereas, salt exposed to air breaks down into fine dust particles that are released as it evaporates. In spite of its common use, the chemistry and applications of various salts are still subject to continual research and debate.