Experiment: Exploring Solubility - How Much Salt and Sugar Can Dissolve in Water?



Solubility is a key concept in chemistry describing the maximum amount of a solute that can dissolve in a solvent at a given temperature. This experiment explores the solubility of common substances in water, illustrating the impact of molecular structure and temperature on solubility rates.

Materials You'll Need:

  • Table salt (sodium chloride)
  • Sugar (sucrose)
  • Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Four small, identical containers or beakers
  • A stirring rod or spoon
  • Water at room temperature (approximately 20°C)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Graduated cylinder or measuring cup
  • Scale for precise measurement
  • Notebook and pen for recording observations


  1. Prepare the Containers: Use a permanent marker to label each container with the name of the substance you're testing: sodium chloride, sucrose, magnesium sulfate, and sodium bicarbonate.
  2. Measure Water: Use a graduated cylinder to measure 100 ml of water into each container.
  3. Test Solubility: Add the solutes to the water incrementally, stirring continuously until no more dissolves. Use a scale to weigh each teaspoon of solute before adding to the water. Record the weight of the solute added to reach the point of saturation.

Observations and Results:

The solubility of a substance in water is heavily dependent on the substance's chemical properties and the temperature of the water. In this experiment, conducted at room temperature, the following observations were made:

1. Sodium Chloride (Table Salt):

Observation: Incrementally added to water, sodium chloride dissolved readily until reaching its solubility limit, which is approximately 357 grams per liter at 20°C.

Result: At room temperature, a saturation point was observed at around 35.7 grams in 100 ml of water, which aligns with sodium chloride's known solubility.

2. Sucrose (Sugar):

Observation: Sucrose dissolved in water, appearing cloudy at first but clearing upon further dissolution.

Result: Sucrose's solubility at room temperature is about 200 grams in 100 ml of water, demonstrating a high solubility rate, contrary to what might be considered moderate.

3. Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt):

Observation: Magnesium sulfate dissolved in water, showing high solubility initially but leaving some undissolved material after reaching saturation.

Result: The solubility of magnesium sulfate at 20°C is 26 grams per 100 ml, indicating a definitive solubility limit at room temperature.

4. Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda):

Observation: Sodium bicarbonate showed solubility in water with an increasing amount until reaching a saturation point without visible residue.

Result: Sodium bicarbonate's solubility is lower than that of sodium chloride, at about 9 grams per 100 ml at room temperature. The observation made previously about 'no visible residue' pertains to an amount below its solubility threshold.

Comparison and Analysis:

The solubility experiment illustrated the differing solubility of the tested substances. Sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate showed high and moderate solubility, respectively, while sucrose displayed a surprisingly high solubility rate, and magnesium sulfate demonstrated a high solubility up to a certain limit.

It's important to note that solubility is an equilibrium condition and is specific to the temperature at which it is measured. The results obtained offer a clear example of how solubility varies between substances and underlines the significance of accurate measurement and controlled conditions in solubility testing.


This experiment underscores the variable solubility of different substances in water and the importance of understanding these differences for practical applications. It also highlights the importance of precise measurement and conditions when experimenting with solubility.

Safety Tips:

As with all chemistry experiments, safety is paramount. Ensure you wear protective gear and handle all materials with care. Proper disposal of chemicals is essential to maintaining safety and environmental standards.