The key difference between chlorite and chloride is that chlorite ion is a strongly oxidizing agent, whereas chloride is not an oxidizing agent.
Chlorite and chloride are anions derived from chlorine atoms. These anions can increase their oxidation states during a chemical reaction, but only chlorite ion can reduce its oxidation state furthermore, while chloride ion cannot. Therefore, chlorite is an oxidizing agent, but chloride ion is not.
What is Chlorite?
Chlorite is an anion having the chemical formula ClO2–. The molar mass of this anion is 67.45 g/mol. It is also known as chlorine dioxide anion, and it’s an example of halite. Chlorite compounds are chemical compounds that contain this anion; chlorine is in the +3 oxidation state. Chlorites are the salts of chlorous acid.
When considering the chemistry of chlorite ion, it has a bent molecular geometry because of the effect of the lone electron pairs on chlorine atoms. The bond angle of O-Cl-O bond is about 111 degrees. Moreover, chlorite is the strongest oxidizing agent among other chlorine oxyanions, depending on the half cell potential.
The most common application of chlorite is its sodium salt (sodium chlorite) that is useful in the bleaching of textile, pulp, and paper due to its strongly oxidizing nature. However, it is not being used directly, and instead, we need to generate the neutral chlorine dioxide species via the reaction with HCl.
What is Chloride?
Chloride is the anion having the chemical formula Cl–. This anion derives from a chlorine atom. Typically, a chlorine atom is consisting of 17 electrons, and it has an unstable electron configuration due to the incomplete orbital filling. Therefore, chlorine atoms are very reactive and form chloride ions by obtaining an electron from the outside. This incoming electron occupies the outermost orbital of the chlorine atom. But there aren’t enough positive charges in the chlorine nucleus to neutralize the negative charge of that electron. Hence, it forms an anion called chloride ion. A common example of a compound containing a chloride ion is table salt or sodium chloride.
The chloride ion has 18 electrons. The electron configuration is similar to that of an Argon atom. It is less reactive, and its electronegativity is also very less. It tends to repel any other incoming electron due to its negative charge.
Compounds that contain Chloride ions are generally called chlorides. Most of these chlorides are water-soluble. When these compounds are dissolved in water, the anion and the cation are separated from each other. Since these ions are electrically charged ions, a solution composed of chloride ions and any other cation can conduct an electric current through the solution.
Difference Between Chlorite and Chloride
Chlorite and chloride are anions derived from chlorine atoms. Chlorite is an anion having the chemical formula ClO2– while Chloride is the anion having the chemical formula Cl–. Chlorite is an oxyanion and contains oxygen atoms apart from chlorine. The key difference between chlorite and chloride is that chlorite ion is a strongly oxidizing agent, whereas chloride is not an oxidizing agent but it can act as a reducing agent.
Below is a summary of the difference between chlorite and chloride in tabular form.
Summary – Chlorite vs Chloride
Chlorite and chloride are anions derived from chlorine atoms. The key difference between chlorite and chloride is that chlorite ion is a strongly oxidizing agent, whereas chloride is not an oxidizing agent.
1. “Halogens as Oxidizing Agents.” Chemistry LibreTexts, Libretexts.
1. “Chlorition” By Eschenmoser – Own work using: ChemDraw 8.0 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia