Problem: Ritalin is the trade name of a drug, methylphenidate, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in young adults. The chemical structure of methylphenidate is shown in the figure below.An electrolyte or a nonelectrolyte?

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We’re being asked to classify the given compound as an electrolyte or nonelectrolyte


Recall that:


• Strong electrolytes: dissociate completely in water; include soluble ionic salts, strong acids, and bases

a. Ionic salts: those that follow the rules of being soluble in solubility rules

b. Strong acids: HCl, HBr, HI, HNO3, H2SO4, HClO4, HClO3

c. Strong bases: Group 1A and 2A (Ca and lower) metals paired with OH, H, O2–, or NH2


• Weak electrolytes: doesn’t dissociate completely in water; include weak acids and bases

a. Weak acids: include HF, HC2H3O2, HNO2, H2CO3, H3PO4

b. Weak bases: Be(OH)2, Mg(OH)2, NH3, NH4OH


• Nonelectrolytes: doesn’t dissociate at all; include molecular compounds

a. Alcohols: composed of carbon and hydrogen with a –OH group

b. Sugars: for example C6H12O6 (glucose) and C12H22O11 (sucrose)

c. Water (H2O)


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Problem Details

Ritalin is the trade name of a drug, methylphenidate, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in young adults. The chemical structure of methylphenidate is shown in the figure below.

The structure of Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central C single bonded below to H and left to a benzene ring.  Single bonded above the central C is a C.  That C is double bonded to O and single bonded to O, which is single bonded to a CH3. Single bonded right of the central C is a C that forms the upper left vertex of a six-membered hexagon ring, arranged with its points up and down.  All the vertices are Cs except for the top point, which is an N, and all vertices are connected by single bonds.  The top point (N) and upper left vertex are single bonded to H; all other vertices are single bonded to two Hs.

An electrolyte or a nonelectrolyte?

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