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Manners of Dissolving Substances

  • Thread starter Mazurka
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Chemistry: Manners of Dissolving Substances

Homework Statement



"Dissolving a substance can be achieved through dissociation, ionization, or dispersion. Which manner of dissolving occurs to each of the following substances? Substances are: acetic acid, methanol and copper (II) sulfate."

Homework Equations



Acetic Acid: CH3COOH, Methanol: CH3OH, Copper (II) sulfate: CuSO4

The Attempt at a Solution



Acetic acid: Dissociation.
Methanol: Dispersion.
Copper (II) sulfate: Dissociation.

I am confused as to why some sources suggest that acetic acid would dissolve through ionization. Isn't acetic acid ionic? If not, how would I go about discerning when a substance is ionic or not, particularly when the compound contains one or more polyatomic ions?

Please take into account that I am only at a intermediate high school level of education. I will not be able to understand any explanation that requires me to have attended a grade twelve or university level of chemistry. I greatly appreciate any help that can be provided.

Thank you,

Eric.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Borek
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Some thing you just have to memorize. Acetic acid is an acid - so it dissociates. But it is a weak acid - so it dissociates only partially.

This is related to your earlier question on ionizable substances - rule of thumb is all salts dissociate, all strong acids and strong bases dissociate, weak acids/bases dissociate only partially, everything else doesn't dissociate at all.
 

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