Chemistry Examples: Strong and Weak Electrolytes

A scientist conducts an electrical conductivity test

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Electrolytes are chemicals that break into ions in water. Aqueous solutions containing electrolytes conduct electricity.

Strong Electrolytes

Model of sulfuric acid

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Strong electrolytes include the strong acids, strong bases, and salts. These chemicals completely dissociate into ions in aqueous solution.

Molecular Examples

  • HCl - hydrochloric acid
  • HBr - hydrobromic acid
  • HI - hydroiodic acid
  • NaOH - sodium hydroxide
  • Sr(OH)2 - strontium hydroxide
  • NaCl - sodium chloride

Weak Electrolytes

Model of ammonia
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Weak electrolytes only partially break into ions in water. Weak electrolytes include weak acids, weak bases, and a variety of other compounds. Most compounds that contain nitrogen are weak electrolytes.

Molecular Examples

  • HF - hydrofluoric acid
  • CH3CO2H - acetic acid
  • NH3 - ammonia
  • H2O - water (weakly dissociates in itself)

Nonelectrolytes

Glucose molecule model

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Nonelectrolytes do not break into ions in water. Common examples include most carbon compounds, such as sugars, fats, and alcohols.

Molecular Examples

  • CH3OH - methyl alcohol
  • C2H5OH - ethyl alcohol
  • C6H12O6 - glucose