Definition - What does Ionization mean?

Ionization refers to the separation of a chemical's molecules into positive and negative ions. This can be accomplished using:

  • Heat
  • Radiation
  • Chemical reaction
  • Chemical discharge

The corrosivity of an environment depends on the degree of ionization of the chemicals in a solution.

Corrosionpedia explains Ionization

Ionization can occur in one of two ways:

  • Electrons are either gained or lost by a particle.
  • One atom or molecule combines with another atom or molecule that already has a charge.

The charged particle itself is called an ion.

When metals such as iron, aluminum and zinc react with an acid, they are said to be oxidized because they give up at least one electron to the acid's hydrogen ion. This causes the material to become ionized. In a sense, ionizing a metal may be said to protect it from acids; because the hydrogen ion becomes hydrogen gas, no further reactions with acids can occur.

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