Definition - What does Complexation mean?

Complexation is the combination of individual atom groups, ions or molecules to create one large ion or molecule. One atom or ion is the focal point of the complex. This central atom contains empty electron orbitals that enable bonding with other atoms as well as unshared electrons.

The last stage in complexation involves the sum of individual components' charges. Therefore, there can be zero, negative and positive charges in a complex within a solution.

Corrosionpedia explains Complexation

Complexation can be found in products like complexing agents that are typically utilized in processes such as chemical analysis. A common example of a complexing agent is ethylenediamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA). These agents have varying descriptors, but one thing they have in common is that each contributes a single pair of electrons to the available central atom orbital.

Complexing agents or ligands have different properties. Firstly, they possess at least one single atom that has no carbon or hydrogen, or they can have several charge centers and atoms, such as EDTA. Ligands can also be charged negatively, positively or not at all.

To ensure that proper complexation takes place, certain factors should be observed:

  • Ionic strength
  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Competing ions

When these factors are properly controlled, obtaining more accurate complexation values is the major result. Thus, chemical analysis is a success and the risk of damage and failures can be reduced significantly.

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