Copyright

Weak Electrolyte: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The Solubility of Gases in a Liquid

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Definition of Weak Electrolyte
  • 1:20 History of Weak Electrolyte
  • 2:15 Conductivity of Weak…
  • 3:00 Weak Electrolyte Example
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Reid

Danielle has taught middle school science and has a doctorate degree in Environmental Health

Electrolytes are very useful, from combating dehydration to aiding in battery function. Learn about a certain type of electrolyte called the weak electrolyte. Don't forget to test your knowledge by taking a quiz at the end of this lesson.

Definition of Weak Electrolyte

From Gatorade to anti-aging products, the inevitability of running into the word electrolyte is highly possible. Whether it is the food industry or chemical industry, weak electrolytes are widely used for a variety of purposes. Weak electrolytes are electrolytes that do not fully dissociate into ions in solution and only partially ionize in solution (roughly 1-10%).

Think of a weak electrolyte as a substance that is quite stubborn. When added to a solution, There is a 1-10% chance that it will either completely break apart into its respective ions or remain stubborn in its ways and not dissociate. When it does dissociate, it is those ions that can contribute to carrying an electrical charge in solution. The table shown here lists some examples of weak electrolytes.

table

Based on the family tree of electrolytes, there are two broad types of weak electrolytes: weak acids and bases. These substances are classified as weak electrolytes given their similar behavior in solution. For example, when you place a weak acid or base in solution they also have a 1-10% chance of dissociating in solution. This similarity in partial dissociation is what classifies a weak acid or base as a type of weak electrolyte.

History of Weak Electrolyte

A weak electrolyte belongs to a larger family called electrolytes shown in this diagram.

family tree

An electrolyte is A substance that can break apart into ions (in solution) and has the ability to conduct electricity (in solution). It is pretty amazing that molecules, such as sodium chloride (NaCl), acetic acid (CH3COOH), and nitric acid (HNO3), can conduct electricity.

Keep in mind that electrolytes are charged species that can ionize. Ionize is a fancy way of saying break apart or dissolve into ions in solution. Ions are atoms that carry a charge due to extra or missing electrons in their energy shell. They can exist as a cation or anion depending on the charge. A cation is an ion that is positively charged, while an anion is negatively charged. This will be important to remember when we look at an example regarding weak electrolyte dissociation in water.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support