Substance that conducts electric current as a result of dissociation of its molecules into positively and negatively charged particles called ions. The most familiar electrolytes are acids, bases, and salts, which ionize when dissolved in polar solvents such as water. Many salts, including sodium chloride, behave as electrolytes when melted in the absence of solvent, since they have ionic bonds. The most commonly used electrolytes are dissolved metal salts (for electroplating metals) and acids (in electric batteries). See also electrolysis.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on electrolyte, visit Britannica.com.
What made you look up electrolyte? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.
Take our visual vocab quiz
A quick quiz about stuff worth knowing
The commonly misspelled words quiz
The Vocab Quiz Game for iPhone & iPad
"Incredibly fun and addictive. And informative!" User Review, iTunes