What is a Solution? Examples, Types and Properties

Do you know what is a solution? Do you think that the water you drink or the cola that you enjoy are solutions? Let us tell you more about it in this section. At times we think, every liquid we see around us are solutions. However, that is not the case! There are many solid solutions as well! Surprised? In this chapter, we will discuss more on what is a solution and which is a type a mixture.

What is a Solution

What is a Solution in chemistry?

A solution is a mixture of one substance dissolved in another so the properties are the same throughout. A solution is composed of a solute and the solvent. The solute is the substance being dissolved and the solvent is the part of the solution that does the dissolving. The solute is of molecular size. 

Characteristics of Solution

Solutions have two components, one is solvent and the other is solute.

1. What is a Solvent?

the substance in which a solute dissolves to produce a homogeneous mixture.

2. What is Solute?

the substance that dissolves in a solvent to produce a homogeneous mixture.

Generally solvent is present in major proportion compared to the solute. The amount of solute is lesser than the solvent. The solute and solvent can be in any state of matter i.e. solid, liquid and gas.

Solutions that are in the liquid state consist of a solid, liquid or gas dissolved in a liquid solvent. Alloys and air are examples of solid and gaseous solutions, respectively.

3. Solution Examples

The following examples illustrate solvent and solute in some solutions.

  • Air is a homogeneous mixture of gases. Here both the solvent and the solute are gases.

  • Sugar syrup is a solution where sugar is dissolved in water using heat. Here, water is the solvent and sugar is the solute.

  • Tincture of iodine, a mixture of iodine in alcohol. Iodine is the solute whereas alcohol is the solvent.

Types of Solutions 

Solutions can be divided into following types of the basis of quantity of solute in a solution – 

1. Unsaturated Solution – The solution in which we can add more solute at a given temperature is called an unsaturated solution. 

2. Saturated Solution – The solution in which we cannot dissolve more solute in the solvent at a given temperature is called saturated solution. 

3. Supersaturated Solution – The saturated solution in which we add more solute by raising the temperature or pressure is called a supersaturated solution. In these solutions generally crystals start forming. 

Solutions can be divided into following types of the basis of amount of solvent added- 

4. Concentrated Solution – The solution in which solute is present in large quantity is called a concentrated solution. 

5. Dilute Solution – it has a very small amount of solute in a large quantity of solvent. 

Properties of a Solution

A chemical solution exhibits several properties:

  • A solution consists of a homogeneous mixture.

  • A solution is composed of one phase (e.g., solid, liquid, gas).

  • Particles in a solution are not visible to the naked eye.

  • A solution does not scatter a light beam.

  • Components of a solution cannot be separated using simple mechanical filtration.

Components of a Solution

The substances that make up a homogeneous solution are called components of the solution. It has basically has two components i.e. a solvent and a solute.

  • Solvent: The component of a solution which dissolves the other component in itself is called solvent. A solvent constitutes the larger component of the solution. For example, a solution of sugar in water is solid in the liquid. Here, sugar is the solute and water is the solvent.

  • Solute: The component of the solution which dissolves in the solvent is called solute. The solute is the smaller component of the solution. For example, a solution of iodine in alcohol known as ‘tincture of iodine’, iodine is the solute. Similarly, in carbonated drinks (Soda water), carbon dioxide gas is the solute.

What is a Mixture?

Mixtures are substances that consist of two or more types of matter. Air, soil, blood, etc. are different examples of mixtures. Based on the nature of the components and their distribution, mixtures are classified as homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures.

  • A mixture that has its components uniformly distributed is known as a homogeneous mixture.

  • While if the distribution is non-uniform, the mixture is called a heterogeneous mixture.

A solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more components. Let’s learn more about solutions, its properties, how to find a concentration of solutions.