What is Solute?

A homogeneous mixture composed of two or more substances, in which a mixture, a solute is a substance dissolved in another substance known as a solvent. The concentration of a solute in a solution is a measure of how much of that solute is dissolved in the solvent, with regard to how much solvent is present like salt.



Characteristics of Solute

  • A solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances.
  • The particles of solute in a solution cannot be seen by the naked eye.
  • A solution does not allow beams of light to scatter.
  • A solution is stable.
  • The solute from a solution cannot be separated by filtration (or mechanically).
  • It is composed of only one phase.

Types of Solute

Homogeneous means that the components of the mixture form a single phase. Heterogeneous means that the components of the mixture are of different phase.

The properties of the mixture including concentration, temperature, and density can be uniformly distributed through the volume but only in absence of diffusion phenomena or after their completion. The major types of solute are:

  1. Gaseous
  2. Liquid
  3. Solid
  1. Gaseous: If a solvent is a gas, then only gases are dissolved under a given set of conditions. An example of a gaseous solution is air such as oxygen and other gases dissolved in nitrogen.
  1. Liquid: If the solvent is a liquid, then almost, liquids, and solids can be dissolved. Here are some examples:
  • Gas in liquid
    • Oxygen in water
    • Carbon dioxide in water
  • Liquid in liquid
    • The mixing of two or more substances of the same chemistry but different concentrations to form a constant.
    • Alcoholic beverages are basically solutions of ethanol in water.
  • Solid in liquid:
  1. Solid: If the solvent is a solid, then gases, liquids and solids can be dissolved.
  • Gas in solids
    • Hydrogen dissolves rather well in metals, especially in palladium;
  • Liquid in solid
    • Mercury in gold, forming an amalgam
    • Water in solid salt or sugar, forming moist solids
    • Hexane in paraffin wax
  • Solid in solid
    • Steel, basically a solution of carbon atoms in a crystalline matrix of iron atoms.
    • Alloys like bronze and many others.
    • Polymers containing plasticizers.

Solute Examples

The solute examples are listed below with the corresponding solution.

Solutions Corresponding solute in solution
Brass alloy Zinc in copper
Amalgam Mercury in silver
Antifreeze in radiator Ethylene glycol in water
Carbonated beverages CO2 in water
Air in atmosphere Many gases in nitrogen
Bronze Tin dissolved in copper
Sugar water Sugar dissolved in water
Alcoholic drinks Alcohol dissolved in water
Salt water Salt dissolved in water


Practise This Question

Which of the following statements is/are true