I've always been a little confused about the whole process of ions dissociating in solutions. When salt dissolves and splits into Na+ and Cl-, shouldn't the Cl- ion still be gaseous? And shouldn't we see it's yellow-green color? Why don't we?

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    $\begingroup$ You know that $\text{chlorine} \ne \text{chloride}$, right? $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Oct 2, 2016 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


Yes solid sodium chloride dissolves according to the following reaction:

$\ce{NaCl(s) -> Na^+(aq) + Cl^-(aq)}$

Chlorine gas, $\ce{Cl2}$, can be produced from solution via this half-reaction:

$\ce{2Cl^- -> Cl2 ^ + 2e^-}$

Since this half-cell reaction is only part of a redox reaction, some other chemical species would need to be reduced. There isn't any other chemical species in a sodium chloride solution which will do that.


When $\ce{NaCl}$ dissolves, it is broken into $\ce{Na+}$ and $\ce{Cl-}$ because water is polar and salt is an ionic compound. These are what are known as ions and are in solution of the water. Chlorine gas, $\ce{Cl2}$ is diatomic and is not an ion (not charged) so is different to the dissolved ions.


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