# What is it called when sodium and chloride ions separate when dissolved in water?

This process is called dissociation. The $\text{Na"^+}$ ions are attracted to the partially negatively charged oxygen atoms of the water molecules, and the $\text{Cl"^(-)}$ ions are attracted to the partially positively charged hydrogen atoms of the water molecules. When this happens, the sodium chloride dissociates into individual ions, which are said to be in solution.