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Solvation it is not an accepted term in the dictionary that elaborates the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE ). This is a concept that is usually used in the field of chemistry with reference to the process that involves the attraction and the association of the ions of a solute and the solvent molecules .

To understand the notion, therefore, we must first know what other terms refer to. Is called dissolution to the homogeneous type mixture composed of a solvent (also know as solvent ) and one or more solutes . In this mixture, solutes dissolve in the solvent: in this way, there is a higher level of solvent than solutes in the solution.

When the solute ions dissolve, solvation occurs. These ions separate from each other and begin to be surrounded by the molecules that make up the solvent. The solvation of the ion is linked to its size , since it depends on the amount of solvent molecules that surround it.

It can be said that solvation occurs from the interactions of a solute with a solvent , which lead to the stabilization of the solute in the solution. The process requires that the ions of the crystalline network be released: for that you need to break the attraction that exists between the ions due to the reticular energy . The solute ions, when associated with solvent molecules, release a class of Energy which is called solvation free energy .

It is important not to confuse the concepts of solubility , dissolution and solvation, although they may have certain similarities to the naked eye. While the solution refers to the addition of solute in a solvent, or to increase the percentage of solvent in a given solution of previous existence, the term solubility refers to the maximum amount that can be added from solute to the solvent before its formation is precipitated, that is, a surplus of undissolved solute is formed.

Taking up the solvation, it is possible to talk about solvated state to describe the situation in which an ion of a given solution is complexed by molecules of the solvent. The term complexed, meanwhile, means formed by a minimum of two components that are associated through a chemical bond called of coordination, which is usually less strong than a covalent bond normal.

Another concept that comes into play in this context is that of polar solvent . This is one that has a molecular structure with dipoles and usually has a high dielectric constant. Its polar molecules are capable of carrying out ion solvation since they can change the orientation of the portion that is partially charged to the ion as a result of electrostatic attraction.

Said ion solvation process results in the system stabilizing. Among the best known polar solvents, the Water it is in the first place, since it is the one that has been studied the most and the easiest to find in nature; This group also includes dimethyl sulfoxide, acetonitrile, methanol, ammonia, acetone, ethanol and propylene carbonate. They can be used for the dissolution of salts, among other inorganic compounds.

There is more than one type of interaction molecular that takes place during solvation: ion-dipole, hydrogen bridge, London forces or dipole-dipole attraction . Except for London forces, the rest is only found in polar solvents. Ion-ions, meanwhile, are given in ionic solvents (a possible case is the molten phase).

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