Dissolving Liquids: Process & Examples

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  • 00:00 Dissolving Liquids
  • 00:33 The Process
  • 2:21 Polar and Non-Polar Liquids
  • 3:28 Example
  • 4:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After watching this video lesson, you will understand how liquids dissolve into another liquid. You will also learn that not all liquids can dissolve into each other. You will learn why this is so.

Dissolving Liquids

In this lesson we talk about dissolving liquids. When we dissolve a liquid, we are allowing a liquid to mix with another liquid. When we say mix, we mean that the different liquids combine physically to become one mixture that won't separate. For example, when you add food coloring into water, you see the food coloring drops combine with the water. When it's done you end up with colored water. This colored water won't separate back into water and food coloring later on, even if you let it sit. The food coloring has dissolved into the water.

The Process

When you are preparing a science experiment to investigate dissolving liquids into each other, there is a process you need to follow. First, you need to label your liquids. One liquid will already be in the container. This is your base liquid; any other liquids will be added to this base liquid. Since we'll be dissolving other liquids into this base liquid, this base liquid is called the dissolvent. A dissolvent is a substance that dissolves another. Water is a very common dissolvent, as are oil and alcohol. If you spend some time looking at the ingredients of various liquids that you find at the store, such as shampoo, orange juice from concentrate, or vanilla extract, you will notice that most, if not all, use one of those three liquids as a dissolvent. You'll have a label for your dissolvent so you know what it is, and then you'll label the liquids that you'll be adding in so that you know which ones are going into the base liquid.

Second, you pour each of your other liquids separately into your base liquid, wait a little bit, stir and then wait a little bit more. If the liquids dissolve into your base liquid then you will see the liquids that you added slowly disappear. You'll also see your base liquid change to that of the mixture. No matter how much longer you wait, this new mixture won't separate. Some mixtures will always separate once you let it set for a while, water and oil, for example, will never combine. You can stir until your arm hurts, but water and oil will never dissolve into each other. When this happens, it means that the liquids do not dissolve into each other.

Third, you record your findings. This means that you write down whether the liquid that you added was dissolved in the base liquid or not.

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