Hydrolysis

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Hydrolysis'

Hydrolysis Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    hydrolysis n : a chemical reaction in which water reacts with a compound to produce other compounds; involves the splitting of a bond and the addition of the hydrogen cation and the hydroxide anion from the water
Hydrolysis Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Hydrolysis \Hy*drol"y*sis\, n. [Hydro-, 1 + -lysis.] (Chem.) A chemical process involving the addition of the elements of water.

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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Hydrolysis'


Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction or process in which a chemical compound reacts with water. This is the type of reaction that is used to break down polymers into many smaller units. In this reaction always water is added to the chemical compound.

(As noted above, hydrolysis of metal salts is more commonly known as hydration.) Many metal ions are strong Lewis acids, and in water they may undergo hydrolysis to form basic salts. Such salts contain a hydroxyl group that is directly bound to the metal ion in place of a water ligand. The positive charge on metal ions creates an attraction to water, a Lewis base with a non-binding electron pair on the oxygen atom, and alters water's electron density. This in turn increases the polarity of the O-H bond, which now acts as a proton donor under Brønsted-Lowry acid-base theory to release the hydrogen as a H+ ion, increasing the acidity of the solution. For example, aluminium chloride undergoes extensive hydrolysis in water such that the solution becomes very acidic.

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