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Factors Affecting Solubility
One fun way to start learning about solutions is to open your refrigerator. Do you have any orange juice? Pour yourself a small glass. Do you have any soda or iced tea? Pour another small glass. Look through each liquid. You should notice that you can see clearly thorough both liquids—they’re transparent. You cannot see through the orange juice, however—it’s opaque. The differences between these liquids are due to the size of particles dissolved in them. Orange juice contains larger particles that are only temporarily suspended in water: if the orange sits for a while, the bigger particles settle to the bottom (that’s why you should always shake a container of orange juice before pouring!). Iced tea and soda, on the other hand, are solutions. The particles within the liquid are small enough remain suspended in the liquid, which allows light to travel through.
A solution is a homogeneous (evenly distributed) mixture of two or more substances. The substance that is present in the largest amount is called the solvent, while the substance that is present in the smaller amount is called the solute. Water is a familiar solvent, as many solutes can be dissolved in it. Check out what happens when sugar is dissolved in water. The three-atom particles are the water molecules, and the bigger white crystals are the sugar molecules. Note how each of the sugar molecules becomes surrounded by water molecules.
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