Solutes, Solvents And Solutions

What Is A Solution

When certain solids come in contact with certain liquids, the particles of the solid bond chemically with the particles of the liquid. In these cases, we say that the solid dissolves in the liquid. We call the solid a solute and the liquid a solvent. The result of a solute dissolving in a solvent is called a solution.

One example of a solvent is water. One example of a solute is sugar. If you put sugar in water, the sugar particles combine with the water particles to form an entirely new substance. The liquid in the container may no longer be called water; neither can it be called sugar. A new liquid substance has been created whose chemical properties are different from those of both sugar and water. This new substance is a “solution” called “sugar water”.

But not all solids dissolve in all liquids. For example, if you put sand in water, it doesn’t dissolve— even though the sand will spread about throughout the volume of the water, it doesn’t change its chemical properties. Neither does the water. For these reasons we say that sand is “insoluble” in water, while “sugar” is soluble. The sand does not dissolve in the water, but it “mixes” with the water. Sand stirred into water, no matter how vigorously, will not dissolve, but mix and remain “suspended” in the water. The sand in the water is therefore called a suspension.

Another example of a solution is tea from a teabag dissolved in water. The teabag particles will combine with the water particles to form a new substance that is neither water nor tea. Coffee is also another “solute” which produces a solution when it comes in contact with the solvent called water.

How many solutes do you know of which dissolves in the solvent water?

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