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13.2: Solutions: Homogeneous Mixtures

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    skills to develop

    • Learn some terminology involving solutions.

    The major component of a solution is called the solvent. The minor component of a solution is called the solute. By major and minor we mean whichever component has the greater presence by mass or by moles. Sometimes this becomes confusing, especially with substances with very different molar masses. However, here we will confine the discussion to solutions for which the major component and the minor component are obvious.

    Solutions exist for every possible phase of the solute and the solvent. Salt water, for example, is a solution of solid NaCl in liquid water; soda water is a solution of gaseous CO2 in liquid water, while air is a solution of a gaseous solute (O2) in a gaseous solvent (N2). In all cases, however, the overall phase of the solution is the same phase as the solvent. Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) lists some common types of solutions, with examples of each.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Types of Solutions
    Solvent Phase Solute Phase Example
    gas gas air
    liquid gas carbonated beverages
    liquid liquid ethanol (C2H5OH) in H2O (alcoholic beverages)
    liquid solid saltwater
    solid gas H2 gas absorbed by Pd metal
    solid liquid Hg(ℓ) in dental fillings
    solid solid steel alloys
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Making a saline water solution by dissolving table salt (NaCl) in water. The salt is the solute and the water the solvent. (CC-BY-SA 3.0; Chris 73).

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\): Sugar Water

    A solution is made by dissolving 1.00 g of sucrose (C12H22O11) in 100.0 g of liquid water. Identify the solvent and solute in the resulting solution.


    Either by mass or by moles, the obvious minor component is sucrose, so it is the solute. Water—the majority component—is the solvent. The fact that the resulting solution is the same phase as water also suggests that water is the solvent.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    A solution is made by dissolving 3.33 g of HCl(g) in 40.0 g of liquid methyl alcohol (CH3OH). Identify the solvent and solute in the resulting solution.


    solute: HCl(g); solvent: CH3OH

    Contributors and Attributions

    13.2: Solutions: Homogeneous Mixtures is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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