Ion-Solvent Interactions

  • Peter R. Bergethon


We continue our model-building exercise with a reasonably detailed examination of the forces that exist between ions and a solvent. The treatment of these forces will lead to an understanding, in molecular terms, of the deviations from the ideal, characterized empirically by the activity coefficient. Initially, a continuum model that neglects any knowledge of the molecular structure of water will be proposed. The empirically inspired corrections to the model will point the way toward a more detailed examination of ion-solvent interactions. Initially, the behavior of ion-solvent interactions will be described in terms of simple electrostatics, but this will turn out to be a crude approximation. As further details about the solvent and its interaction with ions is sought, however, it will become apparent that the structure of water has important effects in modifying the electrostatic environment. In considering the dielectric constant and the Kirkwood equations, the effects of water structure on the electrostatic forces are described in some detail, an exercise that is important when considering the more complex relationships in cellular systems.


Dielectric Constant Dipole Moment Bulk Water Rigid Sphere Thermodynamic Cycle 
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Further Reading

  1. Bockris J. O’M., and Reddy A. K. N. (1970) Modern Electrochemistry, vol. 1. Plenum, New York. This two-volume set is a prize and is required reading for any scientist interested in a lucid and complete grounding in the fundamentals of electrochemistry.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Koryta J., and Dvorak J. (1993) Principles of Electro- chemistry, 2d ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Bergethon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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