Solute, solvent, solution definition with examples


A solution in chemistry is a homogenous mixture of two or more substances.

  • The substance which is dissolved is called a solute.
  • The substance in which the solute is dissolved is called a solvent.

Main characteristics of a solution

Solution is homogenous

That the solution is a homogenous mixture means that it forms a single phase. You cannot differentiate one substance from another within the solution. Characteristics of a solution are identically distributed through it. For an easy example, if you dissolve sugar in water but some of the sugar is still visibly laying on the bottom of the container  (or even floating moved by movement of water) then this not part of a solution - only the dissolved "invisible" sugar is.

You cannot see a solute inside a solvent, nor can you mechanically take one out of another (eg. taking dissolved sugar from water is impossible with a sifter or another mechanical method).

Solution is stable

A solution is stable in given conditions. Eg. in a particular temperature and pressure it does not require stirring or other methods to remain homogenous.

Solution is in one phase

That the whole solution is on one phase means that the wole of it is either gasous, liqiud or solid.

Which is the solute and which is the solvent?

Usually it is easy do determine which substance is a solute and which is a solvent. The solute when dissolved takes on the charachteristics of the of the solvent. A solution is composed in majority of a solvent (there is more of it then the solute). A sugar dissolved in water seems to take on it's characteristics and there is more water than sugar in the solution.

Examples of solutions

Common example of a solution in every day life is salt or sugar (solute) dissolved in water (solvent). Below you can find links to futhrer examples of various types of solutions with a more detailed explanation.