# 13.7: Solution Dilution

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We are often concerned with how much solute is dissolved in a given amount of solution. We will begin our discussion of solution concentration with two related and relative terms - **dilute** and** concentrated**.

- A
**dilute**solution is one in which there is a relatively small amount of solute dissolved in the solution. - A
**concentrated**solution contains a relatively large amount of solute.

These two terms do not provide any quantitative information (actual numbers) - but they are often useful in comparing solutions in a more general sense. These terms also do not tell us whether or not the solution is saturated or unsaturated, or whether the solution is "strong" or "weak". These last two terms will have special meanings when we discuss acids and bases, so be careful not to confuse these terms.

## Stock Solutions

It is often necessary to have a solution whose concentration is very precisely known. Solutions containing a precise mass of solute in a precise volume of solution are called **stock (or standard) solutions. **To prepare a standard solution a piece of lab equipment called a volumetric flask should be used. These flasks range in size from 10 mL to 2000 mL are are carefully calibrated to a single volume. On the narrow stem is a **calibration mark**. The precise mass of solute is dissolved in a bit of the solvent and this is added to the flask. Then enough solvent is added to the flask until the level reaches the calibration mark.

Often it is convenient to prepare a series of solutions of known concentrations by first preparing a single **stock solution** as described in the previous section. **Aliquots** (carefully measured volumes) of the stock solution can then be diluted to any desired volume. In other cases it may be inconvenient to weigh accurately a small enough mass of sample to prepare a small volume of a dilute solution. Each of these situations requires that a solution be diluted to obtain the desired concentration.

## Dilutions of Stock (or Standard) Solutions

Imagine we have a salt water solution with a certain concentration. That means we have a certain amount of salt (a certain mass or a certain number of moles) dissolved in a certain volume of solution. Next we willl dilute this solution - we do that by adding more water, not more salt:

\(\rightarrow\)

**Before Dilution** **After Dilution**

The molarity of solution 1 is

\[ M_1 = \dfrac{\text{moles}_1}{\text{liter}_1}\]

and the molarity of solution 2 is

\[ M_2 = \dfrac{\text{moles}_2}{\text{liter}_2}\]

rearrange the equations to find moles:

\[ \text{moles}_1 = M_1 \text{liter}_1 \]

and

\[ \text{moles}_2 = M_2 \text{liter}_2 \]

What stayed the same and what changed between the two solutions? By adding more water, we changed the volume of the solution. Doing so also changed it's concentration. **However, the number of moles of solute did not change.** So,

\[moles_1 = moles_2\]

Therefore

\[ \boxed{M_1V_1= M_2V_2 } \label{diluteEq}\]

where

- \(M_1\) and \(M_2\) are the concentrations of the original and diluted solutions and
- \(V_1\) and \(V_2\) are the volumes of the two solutions

Preparing dilutions is a common activity in the chemistry lab and elsewhere. Once you understand the above relationship, the calculations are easy to do.

Suppose that you have \(100. \: \text{mL}\) of a \(2.0 \: \text{M}\) solution of \(\ce{HCl}\). You dilute the solution by adding enough water to make the solution volume \(500. \: \text{mL}\). The new molarity can easily be calculated by using the above equation and solving for \(M_2\).

\[M_2 = \frac{M_1 \times V_1}{V_2} = \frac{2.0 \: \text{M} \times 100. \: \text{mL}}{500. \: \text{mL}} = 0.40 \: \text{M} \: \ce{HCl}\]

The solution has been diluted by one-fifth since the new volume is five times as great as the original volume. Consequently, the molarity is one-fifth of its original value.

Another common dilution problem involves deciding how much of a highly concentrated solution is required to make a desired quantity of solution of lesser concentration. The highly concentrated solution is typically referred to as the stock solution.

## Diluting and Mixing Solutions

How to Dilute a Solution by CarolinaBiological |

## Contributions & Attributions

This page was constructed from content via the following contributor(s) and edited (topically or extensively) by the LibreTexts development team to meet platform style, presentation, and quality:

Ed Vitz (Kutztown University), John W. Moore (UW-Madison), Justin Shorb (Hope College), Xavier Prat-Resina (University of Minnesota Rochester), Tim Wendorff, and Adam Hahn.

Henry Agnew (UC Davis)