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Chemistry LibreTexts

11: Solutions and Colloids

  • Page ID
    38247
  • In this chapter, we will consider the nature of solutions, and examine factors that determine whether a solution will form and what properties it may have. In addition, we will discuss colloids—systems that resemble solutions but consist of dispersions of particles somewhat larger than ordinary molecules or ions.

    • 11.0: Prelude to Solutions and Colloids
      Solutions are crucial to the processes that sustain life and to many other processes involving chemical reactions. In this chapter, we will consider the nature of solutions, and examine factors that determine whether a solution will form and what properties it may have. In addition, we will discuss colloids—systems that resemble solutions but consist of dispersions of particles somewhat larger than ordinary molecules or ions.
    • 11.1: The Dissolution Process
      A solution forms when two or more substances combine physically to yield a mixture that is homogeneous at the molecular level. The solvent is the most concentrated component and determines the physical state of the solution. The solutes are the other components typically present at concentrations less than that of the solvent. Solutions may form endothermically or exothermically, depending upon the relative magnitudes of solute and solvent intermolecular attractive forces.
    • 11.2: Electrolytes
      Substances that dissolve in water to yield ions are called electrolytes. Electrolytes may be covalent compounds that chemically react with water to produce ions (for example, acids and bases), or they may be ionic compounds that dissociate to yield their constituent cations and anions, when dissolved. Dissolution of an ionic compound is facilitated by ion-dipole attractions between the ions of the compound and the polar water molecules.
    • 11.3: Solubility
      The extent to which one substance will dissolve in another is determined by several factors, including the types and relative strengths of intermolecular attractive forces that may exist between the substances’ atoms, ions, or molecules. This tendency to dissolve is quantified as substance’s solubility, its maximum concentration in a solution at equilibrium under specified conditions. A saturated solution contains solute at a concentration equal to its solubility.
    • 11.4: Colligative Properties
      Properties of a solution that depend only on the concentration of solute particles are called colligative properties. They include changes in the vapor pressure, boiling point, and freezing point of the solvent in the solution. The magnitudes of these properties depend only on the total concentration of solute particles in solution, not on the type of particles. The total concentration of solute particles in a solution also determines its osmotic pressure.
    • 11.5: Colloids
      Colloids are mixtures in which one or more substances are dispersed as relatively large solid particles or liquid droplets throughout a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium. The particles of a colloid remain dispersed and do not settle due to gravity, and they are often electrically charged. Colloids are widespread in nature and are involved in many technological applications.
    • 11.E: Solutions and Colloids (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Chemistry" by OpenStax. Complementary General Chemistry question banks can be found for other Textmaps and can be accessed here. In addition to these publicly available questions, access to private problems bank for use in exams and homework is available to faculty only on an individual basis; please contact Delmar Larsen for an account with access permission.

    Thumbnail: Nile red solution. Image use with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0; Armin Kübelbeck).

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