Sodium Chloride Physical Properties in Chemistry

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Sodium chloride (NaCl) is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl. It is the salt most responsible for the salinity of sea water and the extracellular fluid of multicellular organisms, and it is the main ingredient of table salt. It is also the major source of industrial chlorine and sodium hydroxide, and it is used in many other industrial and household applications.

It is a white crystal or fine crystalline powder that has no odor and tastes salty. It is soluble in water, glycerin, liquid ammonia, and ethanol (alcohol), but it is insoluble in concentrated hydrochloric acid. It does not conduct electricity in its solid state, but it conducts electricity when it melts. During melting, it produces hydrogen gas and chlorine gas. This is called electrolysis and it is a chemical change, not a physical process.

The ions in a solid NaCl crystal are tightly packed and they are held by strong attractions between them. This gives the crystal a very high melting and boiling point, which makes it resistant to changes in temperature. The ions can only be separated from each other by applying a large amount of energy.

Each Na+ ion is surrounded by six chloride ions, and vice versa, in an arrangement that is referred to as an octahedral structure. This kind of structure is common for ionic compounds and it helps make them very stable. The ions are able to move with respect to each other but they can not touch because that would create repulsions.

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