Chelation is the formation or presence of two or more separate bindings between a polydentate (multiple bonded) ligand and a single central atom. Usually these ligands are organic compounds, and are called chelants, chelators, chelating agents, or sequestering agents.
The ligand forms a chelate complex with the substrate. Chelate complexes are contrasted with coordination complexes composed of monodentate ligands, which form only one bond with the central atom.
Chelants, according to ASTM-A-380, are “chemicals that form soluble, complex molecules with certain metal ions, inactivating the ions so that they cannot normally react with other elements or ions to produce precipitates or scale.”
The word chelation is derived from Greek χηλή, chelè, meaning claw; the ligands lie around the central atom like the claws of a lobster