• Question: Can salt lose its saltiness?

    Asked by danniella1588 to Colm, Eoin, Joseph, Lauren on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Eoin O Colgain

      Eoin O Colgain answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      No, but table salt one could conceivably mix with other things to make it less salty. Bear in mind here that “salty” is a taste, so what is salty to my wife may be less salty for me.

    • Photo: Joseph Roche

      Joseph Roche answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Salt is wonderful at keeping its properties once you store it in a dry place. This is why salt was so valuable when it was more difficult to preserve food. You could rely on salt to always stay the same and provide that delicious salty taste.

    • Photo: Lauren Mc Keown

      Lauren Mc Keown answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Yes it can! NaCl, or common table salt is a very stable compound, but when exposed to water it can dissolve…so if salt comes in contact with moisture it will not be as salty. Even better than that – an interesting experiment which can be done with salt (or NaCl as it is known to chemists) is to perform the “electrolysis” of molten NaCl. That is, to set up what are known as the anode and the cathode (or two opposite ends of a battery) in a brine (salty water) solution, and try to separate the sodium (Na) from the chlorine (Cl), thus completely getting rid of the compound we all know (and love on our chips) called table salt! What happens here is when electrical current passes through the solution, chemical reactions occur at the two ends of the battery. This results in an electron at the negative cathode being given to the positive sodium ion making sodium metal, and chloride ions go to the positive anode and give it one of their negative electrons, turning it into a chlorine gas. So there you have it – salt can lose its saltiness 😉