Energy & Green Tech

Extending the life of low-cost, compact, lightweight batteries

Metal-air batteries are one of the lightest and most compact types of batteries available, but they can have a major limitation: When not in use, they degrade quickly, as corrosion eats away at their metal electrodes. Now, ...

Energy & Green Tech

First-ever 3-D-printed electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries

For the first time, researchers have successfully printed a complete, albeit experimental, lithium-ion battery including a solid-state electrolyte. While electrodes have been produced using 3-D-printing technology before, ...

Energy & Green Tech

3-D batteries pack power into tiny footprints

Batteries might seem like they come in every shape and size that you can imagine. But as electronic devices become tinier and skinnier without reducing their power and energy demands, they challenge engineers to design batteries ...

Energy & Green Tech

New sodium-ion electrolyte may find use in solid-state batteries

A newly discovered structure of a sodium-based material allows the materials to be used as an electrolyte in solid-state batteries, according to researchers from Penn State and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). ...

Energy & Green Tech

Research hints at double the driving range for electric vehicles

When it comes to the special sauce of batteries, researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered it's all about the salt concentration. By getting the right amount of salt, ...

page 1 from 3

Electrolyte

In chemistry, an electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible.

Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts. Furthermore, some gases may act as electrolytes under conditions of high temperature or low pressure. Electrolyte solutions can also result from the dissolution of some biological (e.g., DNA, polypeptides) and synthetic polymers (e.g., polystyrene sulfonate), termed polyelectrolytes, which contain charged functional groups.

Electrolyte solutions are normally formed when a salt is placed into a solvent such as water and the individual components dissociate due to the thermodynamic interactions between solvent and solute molecules, in a process called solvation. For example, when table salt, NaCl, is placed in water, the salt (a solid) dissolves into its component ions, according to the dissociation reaction

It is also possible for substances to react with water producing ions, e.g., carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water to produce a solution which contains hydronium, carbonate, and hydrogen carbonate ions.

Note that molten salts can be electrolytes as well. For instance, when sodium chloride is molten, the liquid conducts electricity.

An electrolyte in a solution may be described as concentrated if it has a high concentration of ions, or dilute if it has a low concentration. If a high proportion of the solute dissociates to form free ions, the electrolyte is strong; if most of the solute does not dissociate, the electrolyte is weak. The properties of electrolytes may be exploited using electrolysis to extract constituent elements and compounds contained within the solution.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA