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What is the exact definition of a 'salt'?

  1. Jul 1, 2011 #1
    What is the exact definition of a 'salt'??? This question is bugging me from a long time. Thanks!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2011 #2

    turbo

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    Gold Member

    Re: Salts

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_(chemistry [Broken])
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Jul 1, 2011 #3
    Re: Salts

    From Wikipedia : In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base.

    Consider Al(OH)3 + 3HCl -> AlCl3 + H2O

    In the above reaction:-
    (1)Al(OH)3 is a base?? Yes, an Arrhenius Base...
    (2)HCl is an acid?? Yes, a Arrhenius acid....
    (3)The reaction is neutralization reaction??? Yes.
    (4)Is AlCl3 ionic?? No, it is primarily covalent....

    So as per the above definition, AlCl3 shouldn't be a salt right??? But it is so....
     
  5. Jul 1, 2011 #4

    Borek

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    Re: Salts

    Problem is, reality doesn't want to be black and white, there are all possible shades of gray in between. It is convenient to classify AlCl3 as a salt, even if - as you correctly mentioned - it doesn't meet all conditions. Alternative is to either create individual classes for many compounds, or to throw them into "others" bag. Each approach has its pluses and minuses.
     
  6. Jul 1, 2011 #5
    Re: Salts

    You mean to say that there is no perfectly clear definition for all things??? But then won't this hinder concept clarity??? As in : If the concept itself is not defined uniformly for all cases, how may we have the clarity of concept??? Thanks for your time....
     
  7. Jul 1, 2011 #6

    turbo

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    Re: Salts

    Neutralization reactions between acids and bases make salts (in general). Are the acids and bases organic? Are they inorganic? Are the salts readily soluble in water? There's a lot of wiggle-room out there.
     
  8. Jul 1, 2011 #7

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Salts

    You can have clear definitions in math, but the reality is continuous, so too precise definitions are useless.

    Take a look at a bond. We say it can be covalent, it can be ionic... does it mean every bond is EITHER covalent or ionic? No, each bond is a mix of both, sometime covalent character is prevailing, sometimes bond is more ionic. If you will look for a perfectly ionic bond, you will find not a single one, same with covalent bonds. Still, this classification is quite useful, as it allows us to group together bonds that behave in a similar way.
     
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