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**1. Electrolyte Basics:**
– Etymology: Originates from Ancient Greek terms related to electricity and the ability to be untied or loosened.
– History: Svante Arrhenius proposed electrolyte dissociation in aqueous solutions, leading to the understanding of chemical reactions between ions.
– Formation: Electrolyte solutions form when salt dissolves in a solvent due to thermodynamic interactions.
– Electrolyte Composition: Sodium and potassium are crucial electrolyte components in the body, maintaining cell function and structure.
– Specific Ion Effects: Understanding specific ion effects is vital in chemistry, quantified by the Hofmeister series.

**2. Physiological Importance of Electrolytes:**
– Essential Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, etc., maintain osmotic gradients, hydration, blood pH, nerve, and muscle function.
– Muscle Function: Muscle contraction relies on calcium, sodium, and potassium, with imbalances leading to weakness or severe contractions.
– Regulation: Electrolyte balance is regulated by intake of electrolytes, hormones, and kidney function for fluid balance and muscle/neuron activation.
– Electrolyte Imbalance in Health: Dysregulated pH and electrolyte imbalance impact health, with sodium pumps in cell membranes having clinical significance.

**3. Electrolyte Applications:**
– Commercial and Medical Use: Electrolyte replacement is necessary in cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and for various medical conditions.
– Electrochemistry: Electrolytes conduct electricity, enabling chemical reactions in batteries, fuel cells, and electroplating.
– Solid Electrolytes: Gel, dry polymer, solid ceramic, and organic ionic plastic crystal electrolytes have unique conductivity properties for various applications.

**4. Measurement and Rehydration:**
– Measurement: Electrolytes are measured via blood testing or urinalysis, with sodium and potassium being most commonly measured.
– Rehydration: Electrolyte drinks aid in replenishing the body after dehydration, with homemade options available using water, sugar, and salt.

**5. Advanced Electrolyte Concepts:**
– Electrolyte Applications: Essential for fuel cell operation, energy storage, and novel electrolyte development.
– Electrolyte Composition: Sodium and potassium balance is essential for overall health.
– Electrolyte Imbalance in Health: Adverse effects of electrolyte imbalance on health and treatment implications.
– Rehydration and Electrolytes: Commercially available drinks and oral rehydration salts play a crucial role in restoring fluid balance, especially during exercise.

Electrolyte (Wikipedia)

An electrolyte is a medium containing ions that are electrically conductive through the movement of those ions, but not conducting electrons. This includes most soluble salts, acids, and bases dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water. Upon dissolving, the substance separates into cations and anions, which disperse uniformly throughout the solvent. Solid-state electrolytes also exist. In medicine and sometimes in chemistry, the term electrolyte refers to the substance that is dissolved.

Electrically, such a solution is neutral. If an electric potential is applied to such a solution, the cations of the solution are drawn to the electrode that has an abundance of electrons, while the anions are drawn to the electrode that has a deficit of electrons. The movement of anions and cations in opposite directions within the solution amounts to a current. Some gases, such as hydrogen chloride (HCl), under conditions of high temperature or low pressure can also function as electrolytes.[clarification needed] Electrolyte solutions can also result from the dissolution of some biological (e.g., DNA, polypeptides) or synthetic polymers (e.g., polystyrene sulfonate), termed "polyelectrolytes", which contain charged functional groups. A substance that dissociates into ions in solution or in the melt acquires the capacity to conduct electricity. Sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate in a liquid phase are examples of electrolytes.

In medicine, electrolyte replacement is needed when a person has prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, and as a response to sweating due to strenuous athletic activity. Commercial electrolyte solutions are available, particularly for sick children (such as oral rehydration solution, Suero Oral, or Pedialyte) and athletes (sports drinks). Electrolyte monitoring is important in the treatment of anorexia and bulimia.

In science, electrolytes are one of the main components of electrochemical cells.

In clinical medicine, mentions of electrolytes usually refer metonymically to the ions, and (especially) to their concentrations (in blood, serum, urine, or other fluids). Thus, mentions of electrolyte levels usually refer to the various ion concentrations, not to the fluid volumes.

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