A solution can be defined as a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances. These substances act either as a solute or as a solvent. We all come across various types of solutions in our daily lives. Air that we breathe is a solution of many gases. Similarly, tea and coffee are also solutions.
What is a solvent? A solvent is a substance that dissolves solute particles to form a solution. Solvent is mostly liquid but is can be gaseous in some cases and rarely a solid as well. Solvent makes up most of the volume of solution, i.e. volume of solvent is higher than that of solute in a solution.
Whats is a solute? A solute is a substance that gets dissolved in the solvent to form a solution. Amount of solute is always lesser than the amount of solvent in a solution.
Major Differences Between Solute and Solvent with Examples
|Basis of Comparison||Solute||Solvent|
|Boiling Point||Solute has the boiling point higher than the solvent.||Solvent’s boiling point is lower than that of the solute.|
|Physical State||May be in solid, liquid or gaseous state.||Mostly solvent is liquid, but it can be gaseous and solid too.|
|Physical State of Solution||Physical state of the solution may or may not be same as that of the solute.||Almost always the physical state of solution is same as the physical state of the solvent.|
|Quantity||In a solution solute is lesser than solvent in quantity.||Solvent makes up most of the volume of the solution.|
|Heat Transfer||Heat is transferred to the solute.||Heat is transferred from the solvent.|
|Phase||Solute particles disperses uniformly throughout the solution.||Solvent makes the medium in which solute disperses.|
|Solubility||Solubility of solute depends on its properties like surface area and molecular size.||Solubility of a solvent depends on its properties like polarity.|
Examples of Solutes and Solvents
- Salt in seawater
- Sugar in tea
- Alcohol in alcoholic drinks
- Mercury dissolved in silver (to form amalgam)
- Protons dissolved in cytosol