Why is solvation considered a surface phenomenon?

1 Answer
Mar 13, 2014

Solvation is a surface phenomenon in the sense that it starts at the surface of a dissolving solid.

During solvation, the particles of a solute become surrounded by solvent particles as they leave the surface of a solid. The solvated particles move into the solution.

For example, water molecules pull sodium and chloride ions from the surface of a sodium chloride crystal. The solvated Na⁺ and Cl⁻ ions end up in the solution.

Solvation with sodium and water molecules from www.oceanclassrooms.com.

We also use the term solvation when water molecules surround polar groups on the surfaces of cell membranes.