Meaning of Ionization

What is Ionization:

Ionization is a conversion process, both chemical and physical, through which ions are produced.

Ions are atoms or molecules that contain electrical charge due to the lack or excess of electrons with respect to a neutral atom or molecule.

Ionization is also related to electrolytic dissociation, a phenomenon through which ions are also produced.

The chemical species that has more electrons than the neutral atom or molecule is called an anion, and its net charge is negative. In the opposite case, when it has fewer electrons, it is called a cation, and its net charge is positive.

Ions, both positive and negative, are present both in nature and in synthetic materials, electrical equipment, clothing, among others.

Positively charged ions are responsible for transferring static charge, which is the electrical discharge that is felt when we touch a metal object and even another person.

Excess positive ions have a negative effect on humans, vegetation, and animals.

On the other hand, negative ions generate the opposite effect: they produce relaxation and well-being. For example, in waterfalls and their shock, negative ions are produced that, when free in the air, can be breathed in and take advantage of their benefits.

Ionization can be both chemical and physical. Chemical ionization can develop in different ways, including a strong difference in the electronegativity of reacting elements or through electron transfer, for example when chlorine reacts with sodium and sodium chloride is formed.

Physical ionization consists of isolating the electrons that make up a neutral molecule, providing energy, for example, through X-rays, gamma rays or ultraviolet light.

See also:

  • What is an ion?
  • Ionosphere.

Ionization energy

The ionization energy or ionization potential refers to the amount of energy that is supplied to a neutral, gaseous and ground-state atom, in order to remove the weakest electron retained and convert it into a gaseous monopositive cation.

Ionization energy is used to obtain a calculation with which electronic transitions can be measured.

Therefore, it refers to the minimum energy that is needed to remove an electron from an atom or molecule, so that there is no interaction between the ion and the electron.

Ionized energy develops in a staggered manner as the electrons come out in a certain order. The first to come out are the valence electrons, which are the most external to the nucleus, and then the electrons from the innermost levels follow, modifying the energy to be used as appropriate in each phase.

Ionization energy can be measured as follows:

  • Electron-volts per atom (eV / atom)
  • Kilocalories per mole (kcal / mole)
  • Kilojoules per mole (KJ / mol)
  • Ionization potential is the potential in volts (V) that is needed to start an electron.

Ionization constant

The ionization constant is also known as the acid dissociation constant, and it refers to the equilibrium that corresponds to a dissociation reaction between a weaker base.

It is worth mentioning that the term dissociation, in chemistry, refers to the process through which the smallest molecules, ions or radicals, are separated from the molecules or salts.

Water ionization

Pure water is a poor conductor of electricity because it ionizes little. That is, water, in its pure state, is a weak electrolyte that dissociates in low equilibrium into hydronium or hydrogen ions H3O + and hydroxide OH-.

This result is called the ionic product of water, and its importance lies in constituting the base on which the pH scale is established, with which the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid solution is measured, that is, its ion concentration. .

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