A solution is a homogenous mixture of two or more components. It is a mixture which has a consistent composition throughout. A homogeneous solution is also known as a true solution.
A solute is a substance or minor component that is dissolved in the solution to form a homogeneous mixture. Concentration is the measurement of solute present in a chemical solution with respect to solvent.
Examples of solute
Commonly, a solute is solid but it may also exist as a liquid or gaseous form.
· In salt or sugar in water, solutes are solid which dissolve in liquid to form chemical solutions.
· In an aqueous solution of hydrogen chloride or carbon dioxide or ammonia, the solutes like hydrogen chloride or carbon dioxide or ammonia are in a gaseous state.
· When two liquids are mixed to form a solution, the solute can be identified by their concentration. The species which present in a smaller ratio is called the solute. For example, in 1 M hydrochloric acid, hydrochloric acid is the solute while water is the solvent.
· The terms solvent and solute are also applied for amalgams and metal alloys. For example, carbon is a solute in steel and mercury is a solute in zinc amalgam (Zn/Hg).
What is a solvent?
A solvent is a substance (major component) of a solution in which a solute dissolves to form a homogeneous mixture. Commonly, a solvent is a liquid but it may also be a solid, gas, or supercritical fluid. The solvent may determine the physical state of the solutions. Water is the most common solvent for many chemical compounds.
Examples of solvent
· Water, ethanol, methanol, and acetone are common examples of liquid solvents with the ability to dissolve many of the chemical compounds to form a solution.
· Air is an example of a gas-gas solution, where other gases are dissolved in nitrogen gas. Here nitrogen is a solvent because the amount of nitrogen present in the air is higher.
· palladium or platinum is an example of a solid solvent because hydrogen gas is absorbed by these metals.