6 Differences of Electrolyte and Non Electrolyte Solutions and Examples

Electrolyte and Non Electrolyte Solutions consist of several kinds of characteristics that need to be paid attention of. The word ‘solution’ is not something strange to us because it can be found in every corner of the region. Chemically, the meaning of this solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances. The mixing of a solution is due to the presence of solutes and solvents.

Solute are substances that are spread evenly in a solvent, which means when a substance is mixed with other substances then slowly the substance is invisible, then it is called a solute because all the mixed substances have been dissolved into the solvent.

Differences of Electrolyte and Non Electrolyte Solutions

In general, the amount of solvent will be more than the amount of the solute. While the solvent is a substance that receives the diffusion of the solvent. Simply, this is the opposite of the solute. When the solvent is mixed with the solute then this substance will remain visible.

And if it is seen based on the ability to conduct electricity, the solution consists of two types: Electrolyte Solution and Non Electrolyte Solution. In short, here’s the difference between electrolyte and non-electrolyte solutions:

  1. The ability to conduct electricity

Electrolyte solution is capable of conducting electricity whether it is strong or weak, or solution itself that can acts as a conductor. On the other hand, non-electrolyte solutions can not conduct electricity or can be called as an insulator. Also read: Acid Solution Examples

  1. Ionization

The definition of ionization is a process of the formation of positive and negative ions by a substance or compound that affects the ability of the substances or compounds in conducting electricity. Electrolyte solution ionization occurs and make it able to conduct electricity. While the non-electrolyte solution is not ionized.

  1. The existence of poles

The poles here refer to the positive and negative poles present in the ions resulting from the ionization process. The electrolyte solution has a pole because of the ionized ions. On the other hand, non-electrolyte solutions have no poles because they are only molecules, not electrically charged ions.

  1. Symptoms

When tested using an electrolyte-tester, the electrolyte solution will produce bubbles in the solution formed due to ionization. Then it will make the lights on. While the non-electrolyte solution will not produce bubbles because there is no ionization in this solution and we will not see any lights on because of the absence of electrical conductivity.

  1. Value a

The fifth difference of the Electrolyte and Non Electrolyte Solutions is the value of a. The electrolyte solution has a = 1 or 0 <a <1 while the non-electrolyte solution has a = 0.

  1. Example of Solutions

Examples of electrolyte solutions are Sodium Chloride, Chloride Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Acetic Acid, and Carbonic Acid. On the other hand, the example of non-electrolyte solution is sugar, urea, alcohol and also distilled water. Also read: Uses of Sodium Fluoride Varnish in Dental Practice

What is Electrolyte solution?

By chemical definition, this solution is a solution that can produce freely moving electrically charged ions. These ions are the one which makes the electrolyte solution has the ability to conduct electricity. What is an ion? Ions are atoms or a set of atoms that have an electric charge, in which ions can be either positively or negatively charged.

This means that the electrolyte solution is able to form positive charged and negative ions, so that it can conduct electricity. Examples of electrolyte solutions are acid, base and salt solutions.

There are two types of electrolyte solutions which are strong and weak electrolytes. The difference is in the number of ions formed when the solute is dissolved. Strong electrolytes will easily produce ions when dissolved. While weak electrolytes produce only a few ions, the rest will be neutral molecules. 

The difference between a strong and weak electrolyte solution:

  1. Because it produces a larger amount of ions, the electrolyte solution will produce a large electric charge as well. While the weak electrolyte will only produce a small electric charge, because it only produces partial ions.
    So, for example, when test is done to a lamp, a strong electrolyte solution will be able to make the light turns bright. In contrast, a weak electrolyte solution can only make the light turns dim.
  2. When we see from its ability to dissolved, a strong electrolyte solution will be easier to dissolve than a weak electrolyte solution.
  3. The electric current in a strong electrolyte solution is much more efficient because of the large amount of ions than the weak electrolyte solution which is capable of delivering only a small amount of current.
  4. When viewed from the bubbles formed, the number of bubbles in the strong electrolyte solution is much more than the weak electrolyte solution which forms only a small amount of bubbles.
  5. Example of a strong electrolyte solution: Sodium Chloride, Chloride Acid and Sodium Hydroxide.

Also read: List of Weak Electrolyte Examples

Examples of weak electrolyte solutions: Acetic Acid, Carbonic Acid.

Example of using electrolyte solution in daily life:

1. Battery

This object is not a strange thing anymore, because it is widely used on remote control, clock, calculator and many more. Batteries can conduct electricity because the battery contains ammonium chloride which is capable of generating electric current. Also read: Chemicals Used in Battery Industry

2. Isotonic Fluids

It is not unfamiliar if we see a lot of stores sell some of isotonic fluid that is able to replace lost body fluids. If you look at the details of the composition, there are some electrolyte contents that can replace body fluids. Also read: Chemicals Used in Electric Car Batteries

3. Oral rehydration therapy

Oral rehydration therapy is a drink often used as medicine of diarrhea disease. It is not only pass from one generation to another generation, but chemically it can be explained that Oral rehydration therapy is a mixture of water and salt, in which salt is one of the substances capable of producing strong electrolytes. So making Oral rehydration therapy is included in the electrolyte solution.

Then what to do with diarrhea? In short, diarrhea can occur because the body has fluid shortages and this affects the impulse work. So to restore the fluid in the body and improve the work of impulse, electrolyte solution is required that can conduct electricity. And this is where Oral rehydration therapy will work, by conducting electricity on the body so that the impulse work increases and the fluid slowly on the body returns.

4. Sodium hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is one of the strongest bases and is an essential ingredient in many types of household cleaners. Commonly used in soaps, detergents, and many others.

However, this electrolyte is quite harmful to the human body if it is not handled properly. Because of its strong alkaline content, this electrolyte is classified as a strong electrolyte. So, an error in handling this electrolyte can cause burns. Also read: Calcium Hydroxide Uses in Food

What is Non-Electrolyte Solutions?

By the chemical definition, this solution is a solution that can not produce ions as in electrolyte solutions but it is formed as molecules that are not electrically charged. Non-electrolyte solution is formed from substances or non-electrolyte compounds which, when it dissolved, ionization process can not occur. This makes the solution unable to conduct electricity. When tested, non-electrolyte solution will not produce bubbles. Examples of non-electrolyte solutions are sugar and urea solutions.

In the dissolution process, there is influence of the compounds contained in the dissolved substance. From these compounds, the electrical conductivity of a solution will be affected. Here are two compounds that affect electrical conductivity:

  1. Ionic Compounds

It is a compound consisting of positive and negative ions combined because of the electrostatic attraction. The compound forms a crystal, so that when this compound has not been mixed with other substances, there will be no electrical conductivity because the ions still incorporated form a crystal.

However, when this compound is dissolved in water there will be charge stabilization due to water dissolution. The previously incorporated ions will be dispersed and able to move freely, so the solution will be able to negate electricity. Thus, all ionic compounds are electrolyte, because all ionic compounds are ionized to form electrically conducting ions.

  1. Covalent compounds

It is a compound consisting of molecules of several nonmetallic atoms which are then covalently bonded. In this covalent compound, there are two characteristics which are compounds that are polar and non polar. There are polar covalent compounds which are capable of conducting electricity (ionizing) and some are incapable of conducting electricity (not ionizing). While non-polar covalent compounds all can not conduct electricity (no ionization).

Examples of ionized polar covalent compounds are HCl, NH 3. An example of an unionized polar covalent compound is acetone. Examples of non-polar covalent compounds are Br2, CH4. Thus, ionized polar compounds are electrolyte substances, whereas non-ionized polar compounds and non-polar compounds are non-electrolyte substances. 

Example of non-electrolyte solution in daily life:

  • Distilled water

This water is widely used as a supporting research materials. What is distilled water? In short, this is distilled water, where the distillation itself is one way of separating water from other particles that have been mixed in the water. Then why is it called non electrolyte? Because after the distillation, there will be pure water, which in this water does not contain any particles other than the water particles itself.

It is known that pure water is a non-electrolyte substance. So that pure water or distilled water can be used as a supporting material of research because the condition is really pure, without mixed any particles. Because even if it sounds simple, the pure water that is used in the research will be very influential on the results. Mineral water that looks pure is not necessarily pure water. So, it will be very influential if the water is distilled first.

1. Urea

Urea is a compound consisting of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. These compounds are generally used as fertilizers.

2. Sugar

In general, sugar is mixed on food or drink to get a sweet taste because it contains glucose.

3. Alcohol

In daily life, alcohol is commonly used as a solvent, medicine and fuel. In addition, alcohol can also be used as a medicine for some external wounds.

Thus, in short, the difference between electrolyte and non-electrolyte solutions is essentially in their electrical conductivity. It can also be seen from the symptoms that arise when tested.