<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Skip Navigation
You are viewing an older version of this Concept. Go to the latest version.

Electrolytes and Colligative Properties

Describe effect of ionization on properties of solutions

Atoms Practice
Practice Electrolytes and Colligative Properties
Practice Now
Electrolytes and Colligative Properties

What effect do ions have?

The addition of ions creates significant changes in properties of solutions. Water molecules surround the ions and are somewhat tightly bound to them. Colligative properties are affected because the solvent properties are no longer the same as those in the pure solvent.

Electrolytes and Colligative Properties

Ionic compounds are electrolytes and dissociate into two or more ions as they dissolve. This must be taken into account when calculating the freezing and boiling points of electrolyte solutions. The sample problem below demonstrates how to calculate the freezing point and boiling point of a solution of calcium chloride. Calcium chloride dissociates into three ions according to the equation:

\text{CaCl}_2 (s) \rightarrow \text{Ca}^{2+} (aq)+2\text{Cl}^-(aq)

The values of the freezing point depression and the boiling point elevation for a solution of CaCl 2 will be three times greater than they would be for an equal molality of a nonelectrolyte.

Sample Problem: Freezing and Boiling Point of an Electrolyte

Determine the freezing and boiling point of a solution prepared by dissolving 82.20 g of calcium chloride into 400.g of water.

Step 1: List the known quantities and plan the problem.


  • mass CaCl 2 = 82.20 g
  • molar mass CaCl 2 = 110.98 g/mol
  • mass H 2 O = 400. g = 0.400 kg
  • K_f(\text{H}_2\text{O})=-1.86^\circ \ \text{C}/ m
  • K_b(\text{H}_2\text{O})=0.512^\circ \ \text{C}/ m
  • CaCl 2 dissociates into 3 ions


  • T_f=? \ ^\circ \text{C}
  • T_b=? \ ^\circ \text{C}

The moles of CaCl 2 is first calculated, followed by the molality of the solution. The freezing and boiling points are then determined, including multiplying by 3 for the three ions.

Step 2: Solve.

82.20 \text{ g CaCl}_2 \times \frac{1 \text{ mol CaCl}_2}{110.98 \text{ g CaCl}_2} &= 0.7407 \text{ mol CaCl}_2\\\frac{0.7407 \text{ mol CaCl}_2}{0.400 \text{ kg H}_2\text{O}} &= 1.85 \ m \ \text{CaCl}_2

\Delta T_f &= K_f \times m \times 3=-1.86^\circ \text{C}/m \times 1.85 \ m \times 3=-10.3^\circ \text{C} && T_f=-10.3^\circ \text{C}\\\Delta T_b &= K_b \times m \times 3=0.512^\circ \text{C}/m \times 1.85 \ m \times 3=2.84^\circ \text{C} && T_b=102.84^\circ \text{C}

Step 3: Think about your result.

Since the normal boiling point of water is 100.00°C, the calculated result for \Delta T_b  must be added to 100.00 to find the new boiling point.


  • The effect of ionization on colligative properties is described.


Do the practice and homework problems dealing with ionic solutions toward the end of the section on the link below:



  1. Why do ionic materials change the colligative properties of a solution?
  2. Would HCl be expected to alter colligative properties?
  3. Calcium carbonate is ionic, but insoluble in water. What effect would it have on the boiling point of water?

Image Attributions

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Electrolytes and Colligative Properties.


Please wait...
Please wait...

Original text