How to Make More of a Solute Dissolve in Water?
What You Need to Know
When no more solute can dissolve in a solvent, the solution is said to be a saturated solution. If the solvent is water, the solution is called an aqueous solution. A supersaturated solution means that it has more solute than is normally possible at a certain temperature. Syrup is a supersaturated sugar solution, as is honey.
How Does a Saturated Solution Work?
Generally, the solvent of a solution makes up the largest part of the solution, and the solute, which makes up the smallest part, breaks down to its smallest particles and spreads evenly throughout the solvent. An aqueous solution is a mixture of water and another substance, which can be a gas, a liquid, or a solid. Only a certain amount of a solute can dissolve in a solvent. For example, some of the air blown into the water of an aquarium dissolves, but most of it forms bubbles and rises to the surface where it escapes. This is because the water becomes saturated with air and no more can dissolve.
What Does This Have to Do with Making More Solute Dissolve in Water?
Before determining how to increase the amount of solute, the type of solute has to be identified. If the solute is a gas, an increase in pressure increases the amount of gas that dissolves. For example, more carbon dioxide gas is dissolved in water under pressure in carbonated drinks. When the pressure is released by opening the bottle or can, the carbon dioxide gas quickly separates from the water in the form of bubbles. However, pressure has little to no effect on the amount of liquids or solids that can dissolve in water. An increase in temperature makes some liquids and solids more soluble and others less soluble. How does a temperature change affect the amount of common solutes, such as sugar and salt, that dissolve in water?
Packaged hand warmers are made with supersaturated solutions. Bending the package causes the excess solute to crystallize (particles bond together, forming a solid). The process of crystallization is a type of chemical reaction that gives off heat causing the temperature of the package to rise to about 130° F for about 30 minutes.
Real-Life Science Challenge
Artificial sweeteners can help a person cut down on calories and help manage diabetes, a health condition that results from an abnormal amount of blood sugar. Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener that has the same amount of calories as an equal amount of sugar. The difference is that aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount has to be used to make a solution as sweet as sugar. Even though the solubility of aspartame decreases with temperature, enough can be dissolved in an icy drink to make it sweet. Could enough sugar be dissolved at the same temperature to make the drink as sweet?
Now, start experimenting with making more of a solute dissolve in water.
- Solutes might include sugar, salt, Epsom salts, or artificial sweeteners.
- Ask for adult assistance if you use hot water.
- Carefully measure how much of the solvent you add to the water.
- When the water is saturated with the solute, the excess solute will not dissolve.
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