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Suppose we have a NaCl salt solution. Since Na+ and Cl- ions exist freely in solution, it makes sense that putting the solution in a strong electric field (or a changing magnetic field) will mean there is a Lorentz force pulling ions of opposite charges to opposite sides. Has this sort of phenomena been observed, and is there a quantitative model that can describe it, for instance, in finding out the distribution of charges in the solution? Or could we simply treat the ionic solution as a conductor and equate the Lorentz force to the electrostatic force?

I would like to also find out if there is a way of calculating the concentrations of both ions at either ends of the container, if this does work. Is this possible?

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The ions are shielded by an envelope of water around them (hydrated). But still they'll have their charge. Now some of the ions will drift to opposite sides in response to the electric field which will create an opposite field thus cancelling the E- field you applied. Once this process is complete, there will be no more accumulation of ions on either side.

It's worth noting that in a situation like yours when the applied E-field is external to to the beaker, the solution behaves like a conductor hence when the fields cancel, there is no more accumulation of charges.

Now if you think of Lorentz force acting on these tiny ions, you should know that the ions will constantly change their velocity inside the solution and hence the Lorentz force won't be very effective in pulling the ions to one side.

A few of the water molecules may also get polarized.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see. Thanks for the insight. If we have a molten salt, then would it happen? $\endgroup$ – Dernbu Aug 3 at 4:53
  • $\begingroup$ I edited my answer to remove the irrelevant parts. Please have a look once more $\endgroup$ – user8718165 Aug 3 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the update! Could I know the source? $\endgroup$ – Dernbu Aug 3 at 10:02

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