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Introduction to Chemical Mixtures

Author(s): David R. Caprette, PhD

Components of a Solution

A true solution consists of a minimum of two components, namely a solvent and a solute. The solvent is the major component of a solution, and frequently is a liquid matrix in which one or more solutes (minor components) are dissolved. Solutions are completely homogeneous mixtures, a property that often is attributed to suspensions and colloids as well. The minor components of a true solution, however, remain dispersed, due to interactions at the molecular level. A substance is considered to be soluble in a particular solvent if it is capable of interaction with the solvent so as to form a solution.

By definition, a solution can consist of a liquid, solid, or gas, or combination of these types of substances, dissolved in a liquid. A solid can also be dissolved in another solid such as is the case for some frozen drinks or metal alloys. Gases, unless compressed, typically are mutually soluble.