Salts are also prepared by methods other than neutralization. A metal can combine directly with a nonmetal to form a salt; e.g., sodium metal reacts with chlorine gas to form sodium chloride. A metal may react with a dilute acid to form a salt and release hydrogen gas; e.g., zinc reacts with dilute sulfuric acid to form zinc sulfate and hydrogen. A metal oxide may react with an acid to form a salt and water; e.g., calcium oxide reacts with carbonic acid to form calcium carbonate and water. A base can react with a nonmetallic oxide to form a salt and water; e.g., sodium hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide to form sodium carbonate and water. Two salts may react with one another (in solution) to form two new salts; e.g., barium chloride and sodium sulfate react in solution to form barium sulfate (as an insoluble precipitate) and sodium chloride (which remains in solution). A salt may react with an acid to form a different salt and acid; e.g., sodium chloride and sulfuric acid react when heated to form sodium sulfate and release hydrogen chloride gas (which in solution forms hydrochloric acid). A salt undergoes dissociation when it dissolves in a polar solvent, e.g., water, the extent of dissociation depending both on the salt and the solvent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.