A scientist is working with an unknown substance named X. He adds some of this substance to a...


A scientist is working with an unknown substance named X. He adds some of this substance to a beaker of water and discovers that substance X fails to dissolve in water. The particles remain mixed with the water when motion is applied but settle out when left alone. Based on this information, is substance X a polar, nonpolar, or ionic substance?


Solubility is a property in chemistry that describes the ability of a molecule to dissolve into another solution. The solubility of a molecule is not only based on its own properties but also the properties of the solution it's in.

Answer and Explanation: 1

The scientist is trying to determine if Substance X is polar, nonpolar, or ionic. To test this, he first dissolves it in water, a polar solution. Because Substance X dissolves into water, we can know that it is not nonpolar. Water itself is polar, and a common saying in chemistry is that "like dissolves like". Because it dissolved, we know that X is either polar or ionic.

When determining if X is ionic or polar, we now look at the fact that it precipitates out of the water when the water is not agitated. When looking at polar molecules vs ionic, we can observe the types of bonds that each will make with the water molecules. Ionic compounds will make ionic bonds, and polar compounds will make dipole-dipole bonds.

The ionic bonds will be much stronger than the dipole-dipole bonds, and so if a precipitate forms out of Substance X, it is most likely a polar substance.

Learn more about this topic:

Solubility in Chemistry: Definition & Properties


Chapter 6 / Lesson 8

Understand the solubility definition in chemistry. Learn about solubility equilibrium, solubility units, and the various factors that affect solubility.

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