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Difference Between Hydration and Hydrolysis

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Hydration and Hydrolysis: Introduction

In clinical medicine and biochemistry, respectively, the terms hydration and hydrolysis are frequently used. The processes are very different, even though they share a similar sound and, as the term "hydro" suggests, are both related to water.

What is Hydration?

Hydration is the chemical process in which water molecules mix with a substance. When a water molecule is added to an unsaturated compound, such as an alkene or an alkyne, the process is referred to as hydration. However, in inorganic chemistry, hydration is the association of molecules of water with compounds.

When an unsaturation is present, the water molecule is added. A proton and a hydroxide anion are formed here when the water molecule splits. With the carbon atom that has more substituents, the hydroxide anion forms a bond. According to Markovnikov's rule, the proton will combine with the carbon that has fewer substitutes. Any organic molecule that is unsaturated is hydration-sensitive.

The Significance of Hydration:

  • For chemical reactions, the hy­dra­tion process is of enormous significance. This is primarily due to the fact that water is the primary and most common solvent among all substances, and it is present in many reactions to some extent or another. To find out more about these procedures creating amazing chemical experiments, click here.

  • Nobody is aware that important substances are manufactured in the industry using the hydrolysis process, that substances are:

acid, alcohol, aldehydes, and slaked lime.

  • In the human body, hydration and dehydration processes are constantly in motion. Thanks to them, the process of metabolism occurs. The organism's cells continuously absorb and release water. Water actively bonds with other substances in the human body at the same time.

What is Hydrolysis?

Hydrolysis is a double decomposition reaction with which water is one of the reactants. In other words, it involves using a water molecule to break a molecule's bond. Reversible hydrolysis reactions are frequent. There are three main categories of hydrolysis reactions:

  • Base hydrolysis

  • Salt hydrolysis

  • Acid hydrolysis

According to the Brnsted-Lowry acid theory, when an acid and a base react with one another, the acid forms its conjugate base and the base forms its conjugate acid by exchanging a proton. As a result, water can act as either an acid or a base. For water to function as a Brnsted-Lowry acid, a proton must be given by the water molecule. The water molecule can accept a proton if it functions as a Brnsted-Lowry base.

The Significance of Hydrolysis:

  • Hydrolysis is one of the most widespread chemical reactions that sets apart chemicals by simply adding water to it.

  • The primary purpose of hydrolysis reactions is to break down polymers into monomers, which is precisely what occurs in living things.  Complex compounds can be broken down into monomers through biochemical processes such as hydrolysis.

  • The disaccharide sucrose, also referred to as "table sugar," is made up of glucose and fructose. A covalent bond between the two monosaccharides is broken during the hydrolysis of sucrose, resulting in the production of glucose and fructose.

What does the Process of Hydration and Hydrolysis Signifies:

  • Hy­dra­tion is the joining of portions of a substance dis­solved in water with water molecules, to take a general definition from the ex­am­in­ing of the question "what is hy­dra­tion?" Additionally classified as a form of hy­dra­tion, solution.

  • The primary distinction between hydrolysis and hydration is that, unlike hydrolysis, hydration does not result in the destruction of a water molecule's structural integrity.

  • Hy­drates—compounds with a permanent or variable composition—are the end product of the process.

  • The crystal lattice disintegrates when a sol­id substance is dissolved in water, and the resulting molecules or ions then undergo the sol­va­tion process.

  • Hydration can lead to the formation of acids, alkalis, or amorphous compounds. When the molecules of a substance with excess energy are present in water, hydration is possible. They can attach to a water molecule in this situation without destroying it.

  • The most intriguing characteristic of crystal hydrates that form as a result of hydration is that various substances with various properties can form depending on the quantity of attached water molecules. 

Ex­am­ples of Re­ac­tions:

Gelatin is a simple example. These chemical processes are crucial for understanding human biology because they explain how muscle contractions and swelling occur. The process of hydration may also be classified as a form of hy­drol­y­sis in some sources. However, this is not entirely accurate because during the hy­drol­y­sis process, the substance's molecule disintegrates, whereas during the hy­dra­tion process, the structural characteristics of the water molecule remain unchanged. Some scientists are inclined to believe this theory, while others see hy­dra­tion as a separate, independent chem­i­cal process. This issue is still up for debate.

The investigation into water continues. Scientists frequently employ molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo calculations.

Differentiate Between Hydration and Hydrolysis :

S No.






Hydration is the chemical process in which water molecules mix with a substance.

Hydrolysis is a double decomposition reaction with which water is one of the reactants. 


Chemical Bonds

Inorganic compounds do not experience bond cleavage during hydration, whereas it occurs in organic molecules.

The water molecule's bonds are broken down during hydrolysis.



Dehydrated compounds undergo hydration to become hydrated compounds.

Unsaturated compounds undergo hydrolysis to produce saturated compounds.


By splitting the water molecule and breaking a chemical bond in the compound, hydrolysis adds a water molecule to the mixture. Hydrolysis is therefore viewed as a double decomposition reaction. In both organic and inorganic chemistry, the word "hydration" is used in two different contexts. It is the addition of a water molecule to an alkene or alkyne in organic chemistry. Hydration, however, is the association or combination of water molecules without cleaving the water molecule in inorganic chemistry. As a result, the primary distinction between hydration and hydrolysis is that the former always involves the splitting of a water molecule, whereas the latter does not.

Last updated date: 26th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Difference Between Hydration and Hydrolysis

1. What does it mean when it is said something is hydrolyzed?

Since the word "hydrolysis" is a past tense of "hydrolyzed," an object that has undergone hydrolysis is one that has been "hydrolyzed." In a chemical reaction known as hydrolysis, bonds within molecules are broken as a result of a reaction with water. An ionic molecule is split in half during hydrolysis when it interacts with water. The water provides a positive proton (H+) to one half of the broken molecule, and the remaining hydroxyl group (OH-) to the other.

2. What are the types of hydrolysis?

The types of hydrolysis are:

  • Acid Hydrolysis: Acid hydrolysis is the general term for a reaction that resembles an acid dissociation reaction.

  • Base Hydrolysis: Base hydrolysis is the term used to describe a reaction that resembles a base dissociation reaction. Typically, the water in this hydrolysis donates a proton by forming an ion called a hydroxide (OH-). It follows that water functions as Bronsted-Lowry acid in most situations.

  • Salt hydrolysis: When salt and water are combined, the salt typically separates into its ions. Water ionizes salt mixing when weak acid or base salts are typically added, resulting in the formation of hydronium cations and hydroxide anions. The process of separating anions or cations from the dissolved salt is known as salt hydrolysis.

3. What are the types of salts based on their hydrolysis?

Based on their hydrolytic behavior, salts are divided into four types. Those are

  • Strong acid and strong base salts

  • salts of a powerful base and a weak acid 

  • Strong acid and weak base salts 

  • a weak acid salt and a weak base salt

4. What is hydration of ions?

The sodium and chloride ions are hydrated when a salt, like sodium chloride, dissolves in water.Water molecules surround each individual ion.

The hydrogen atoms in water molecules have a slight excess of positive charge, and the oxygen atoms have a slight excess of negative charge.

The sodium dissolves as a result of electrostatic attraction between the oxygens in the water and the sodium, as depicted in the image. A hydration shell or sphere is the name for such a configuration.

5. What do you mean by hydration reaction?

Chemical reactions include hydration reactions. One of the reactants that is converted into a product is water.

The hydration of alkenes to alcohols is one of the most frequent hydration reactions.

For instance, hydration of ethene produces industrial ethanol.