What properties of water make it useful as a solvent? What types of compound can it (i) dissolve, and (ii) hydrolyse?
A high value of dielectric constants (78.39 C2/Nm2) and dipole moment make water a universal solvent.
Water is able to dissolve most ionic and covalent compounds. Ionic compounds dissolve in water because of the ion-dipole interaction, whereas covalent compounds form hydrogen bonding and dissolve in water.
Water can hydrolyze metallic and non-metallic oxides, hydrides, carbides, phosphides, nitrides and various other salts. During hydrolysis, H+ and OH– ions of water interact with the reacting molecule.
Some reactions are:
`CaO + H_2O -> Ca(OH)_2`
`NaH + H_2O -> NaOH + H_2`
`CaC_2 +H_2O -> C_2H_2 + Ca(OH)_2`
Water is highly polar in nature thats why it has high dielectric constant and high dipole moment. Because of these properties, water is a universal solvent.
It can hydrolyse many oxides metallic or non-metallic, hydrides, carbides, nitrides etc.