UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How does salt dissolve?
Question Date: 2019-12-09
Answer 1:

Everything around us—you, me, rocks, trees, and salt!—is made up of building blocks called atoms. You can think of atoms as tiny Lego bricks. Just like small Lego fit together to make bigger things, atoms come together to form bigger creations. Unlike Lego, though, atoms are way too small to see with your eyes. Only the world’s most powerful microscopes are able to see atoms!

So, salt is a collection of atoms that have come together to form a larger structure that you can see: a salt crystal. The atoms stay together in the crystal because they attract each other, and so they stick together. However, when you put that salt crystal into water, the water attracts the atoms in the crystal. The attraction between the water and the salt atoms is so strong that the atoms aren’t sticky enough to stay together. Instead, they are pulled apart, just like when you pull apart Lego bricks, and the salt dissolves. As the atoms are pulled apart, they are spread throughout the water. And, you can taste the difference!

When you put salt crystals into water, the water becomes salty. That’s the taste of all of the salt atoms in the water touching your tongue!

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use