The Solubility Concept

  • W. G. Robertson
Part of the Dahlem Workshop Reports book series (DAHLEM, volume 23)


The concept of the solubility of sparingly soluble salts is based on the statistical theory of electrolyte solutions of Debye and Hückel. This requires a knowledge of the relevant free ion activities (or concentrations), ionic strength, activity coefficients, and ion-pairing in the solution concerned. From these the thermodynamic solubility product is developed which describes the absolute solubility of a salt at a given temperature in equilibrium with the pure solid phase of that salt. Aberrant solubility is observed when the surface activity of the salt is altered. This may come about because of the very small crystal size of the salt, because of the presence of a different solid phase at the crystal surface from that in the bulk crystal, or because of the presence of foreign ions on the crystal surface. Examples of these are common in studies on the solubilities of salts in contact with biological fluids. The implications of these effects on the processes of normal and pathological mineralization and demineralization and the complexity of the crystallization mechanisms involved in intracellular formation of mineral are reviewed.


Calcium Phosphate Crystal Surface Calcium Oxalate Calcium Oxalate Crystal Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate 
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Copyright information

© Dr. S. Bernhard, Dahlem Konferenzen, Berlin 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. G. Robertson
    • 1
  1. 1.M.R.C. Mineral Metabolism UnitThe General InfirmaryLeedsEngland

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