Press "Enter" to skip to content

We finally know in detail how salt dissolves in water

A machine learning model has revealed how crystals of sodium chloride slowly weaken and then rapidly crumble to dissolve in water

Chemistry 22 November 2022

Conical mounds of salt reflected in the shallow water on the Salar de Uyuni at sunset

Mounds of salt on the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Jami Tarris/Stone RF/Getty Images

A longstanding mystery about how salt dissolves in water has finally been solved, thanks to machine learning.

Understanding the complete process of how sodium chloride, or salt, dissolves in water is important for a range of scientific disciplines, from accurate climate models to making batteries.

Researchers have tried to work out what happens on a molecular level using computer simulations that start with a configuration of salt crystals in water, but the large number of complex interactions between the salt and water …