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Solubility Lesson for Kids: Definition & Rules

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  • 0:04 What is Solubility?
  • 0:42 How Substances Dissolve
  • 1:19 Levels of Solubility
  • 2:07 Solubility Limits
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patrick Zedrow

Patrick has taught intermediate science, language arts, and technology. He has a master's degree in educational technology.

Certain chemicals are able to dissolve into other chemicals because of a property called solubility. In this lesson, we'll explore solubility and its different levels and limits.

What is Solubility?

Have you ever poured sugar into your tea and stirred it up? Why does the sugar seem to disappear? Well, it's actually dissolving, which means it breaks down and becomes absorbed into the tea, and it does so because it has a chemical property called solubility.

Solubility is the ability to dissolve into (become a part of) another substance. Something that dissolves, like the sugar in our example, is called a solute. The substance that it dissolves into, like the tea, is called the solvent. When a solute dissolves into the solvent, the end product is called a solution.

How Substances Dissolve

Imagine a small crystal of sugar. When it touches water, the tiny water particles surround that sugar crystal and bond with it. It's like the water particles are telling the sugar, ''You're in our club now!'' The sugar still keeps its features, like the sweet taste, but because the sugar's bonds were loose, those bonds have been broken apart by the water particles, and the sugar becomes bonded to the liquid water.

Many other solutes also dissolve in water, such as salt and baking soda. Liquids can be solutes, too. For example, alcohol and food coloring can dissolve into water. Can you think of any solutes that dissolve in water?

Levels of Solubility

Sometimes the tiny particles of a substance are held together very tightly, making it hard for another substance to break the substance's bonds and form a new bond. In this case, the substance has a low solubility.

Can you think of something that doesn't dissolve in water? Consider sand, for instance. A particle of sand is held together very tightly. Water particles do not have enough energy to break down the sand particle. If you poured sand into a glass of water, the sand would just settle at the bottom (when this happens, it's called a mixture). You might call sand ''insoluble.''

Other insoluble substances include pepper, sawdust, and even oil. In fact, there is an old phrase that describes two people who do not get along: They are like oil and water!

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