Difference Between Ionization and Dissociation

Main Difference

The main difference between ionization and dissociation is that ionization always produces electrically charged particles, whereas dissociation may or may not produces electrically charged particles.

Ionization vs. Dissociation

Ionization is the process by which molecules or atoms get a negative or positive charge, whereas dissociation is the breakdown of a compound into smaller particles such as molecules, ions, or atoms. Ionization gives a concept about the formation of ions while dissociation discusses the formation of small constituents from larger compounds. Ionization occurs when a molecule or an atom loses or gains an electron (or few electrons); on the other hand, dissociation occurs with the addition of energy in the form of heat and the addition of solvent. In the end, ionization always forms ions; on the contrary, in the end, the product of dissociation, it always produces atoms, ions, or molecules that are smaller than the initial material. Ionization includes the creation of charges across the contributing species; conversely, dissociation occurs because of the weak bond between species. Ionization includes polar covalent compounds or metals as its initial compounds while dissociation contains ionic compounds. Ionization is an irreversible process, whereas dissociation is a reversible process. Ionization contains covalent bonds between atoms; conversely, dissociation involves ionic bonds in their compounds.

Comparison Chart

IonizationDissociation
The reaction in which polar covalent compounds in water are converted into ions is called ionization.The separation of ions which are already present in ionic compounds or electrovalent compounds is called dissociation.
Concept
The formation of ionsThe formation of small components from larger compounds
Theory
Occurs when a molecule or an atom loses or gains an electron (or few electrons)Occurs with the addition of energy in the form of heat and the addition of solvent
End Product
Always forms ions in the endAlways produces atoms, ions, or molecules that are smaller than the initial material
Initial Compound
Includes polar covalent compounds or metalsContains ionic compounds
Occurrence
Creation of charges across the contributing speciesOccurs because of the weak bond between species
Process
An irreversible processA reversible process
Bonds
Contains covalent bonds between atomsInvolves ionic bonds in their compounds

What is Ionization?

Ionization is the method by which a molecule or an atom acquires a positive or a negative charge by losing or gaining of electrons often in combination with other chemical changes, and the resulting electrically charged molecule or an atom is called ion. Ionization generally results from the loss of an electron after collisions with other atoms, after collisions with subatomic particles, molecules, and ions. Ionization takes place through emitting radiation by the internal transformation process in which an excited nucleus transmits its energy to one of the inner-shell electrons causing it to be emitted. Ionization is an irreversible process. Everyday use of ionization is such as within the fluorescent lamp or in other electrical discharge lamps. It is also used in Geiger-Muller counter or in ionization chamber that is radiation detectors.

The ionization process is widely used in industries or a variety of types of equipment in fundamental science. Negatively charged ions are formed when a free electron collides with an atom and is afterward trapped inside the electric potential barrier, then release an excess of energy. This whole process is known as electron capture ionization. Positively charged ions are formed by transferring an amount of energy to a bound electron in a collision with photons or charged particles. The onset amount of the required energy is known as ionization potential. Adiabatic ionization is a form of ionization in which an electron is added or removed to an atom or molecule in its lowest energy state resulting from an ion in its lowest energy state.

What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is a universal process in which molecules split or separate into smaller particles such as ions, atoms, or radicals, generally in a reversible manner because these smaller particles are usually capable of recombining together at given conditions. The major reasons for dissociation are the addition of energy in the form of heat and the addition of solvent. When an ionic complex is dissolved in water, it dissociates into its ionic elements. For instance, when NaCl is dissolved in water, the resulting solution contains Cl- anions and Na+ cations.

Associated Terms of Dissociation

  • Dissociation Constant: Dissociation constant is normally the ratio between the reactant concentration after dissociation and the concentrations of products. This dissociation has a constant value if the temperature is constant.
  • Dissociation Degree: The dissociation degree is the segment of original solute molecules that have dissociated, and it is usually indicated by the Greek symbol α. More accurately is defined as the degree of dissociation refers to the amount of solute dissociated into ions or molecules per mole. Less powerful acids will have a lesser degree of dissociation, and for very acids and bases, degree of dissociation will be close to 1.

Key Differences

  1. Ionization is the method by which molecules or atoms get charged particles, whereas dissociation is the breakdown of a compound into smaller particles such as molecules, ions, or atoms.
  2. Ionization is the creation of ions, while dissociation is the formation of small components from larger compounds.
  3. When a molecule or an atom loses or gains an electron (or few electrons), ionization happens; on the other hand, dissociation occurs with the addition of energy in the form of heat and the addition of solvent.
  4. The end products of ionization are always ions; on the contrary, the end product of dissociation always produces atoms, ions, or molecules that are smaller than the initial material.
  5. Ionization comprises polar covalent compounds or metals while dissociation holds ionic compounds.
  6. Ionization is an irreversible process, whereas dissociation is a reversible process.
  7. Ionization contains covalent bonds between atoms; conversely, dissociation involves ionic bonds in their compounds.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that ionization is the formation of new charged particles which were absent in the previous compound while dissociation is the separation of charged particles which were already existed in the compound.

Author:

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Turpy Media. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss or on Pinterest @HarlonMoss

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