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Unsaturated Solution: Definition & Examples

Unsaturated Solution: Definition & Examples
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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:10 Solutes, Solutions & Polarity
  • 1:35 Lesson & Examples
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nadine James

Nadine has taught nursing for 12 years and has a PhD in Nursing research

In this lesson, you''ll learn the definition of an unsaturated solution. There will be examples provided to assist you with your understanding of the topic. Also, several examples of unsaturated solutions are provided.

What Is an Unsaturated Solution?

You have an unsaturated solution when there are fewer particles or solutes than solvent in the solution. Let's break this definition down.

Key Terms: Solutes, Solutions, and Polarity

A solution is made up of particles, or solutes, and a solvent. The solvent part of the solution is usually a liquid, but can be a gas. In fact, most of the time the solvent is water. Thus water is known as the universal solvent.

The definition of solute concentration is the amount of solutes or particles that are dissolved in a solution. And remember that our definition of an unsaturated solution says that there are fewer particles or solutes than solvent in the solution. So, would an unsaturated solution be able to have more solutes dissolved in the solution? The answer is yes.

There are three other definitions required for you to understand this lesson. First, let's define 'solubility'. This is the ability of a solute to be dissolved in a solvent. If the solute is small, it can be dissolved quicker in a solvent.

Next is the rate of solution. This is defined as the time it takes to dissolve the solute in the solvent. Later, we'll discuss what factors affect the rate of solution.

Finally, we will have a polarity. Each molecule is made up of electrons. The unequal sharing of electrons creates polarity. The molecular structure of a substance and how the structure breaks down has to do with the polarity. A substance can have a polar or non-polar nature.

Examples of Unsaturated Solutions

The characteristics of a solvent are that it can be a liquid, a solid, or a gas, although the solvent is usually a liquid. The most common solvent is water; as noted earlier, it is known as the universal solvent. A solution with water as the solvent is known as an aqueous solution. Water can dissolve most substances, but not all.

The solvent for the ocean is water, a liquid, and salt is the solute. We have all had iced tea, and we all know someone who likes a lot of sugar mixed in their tea. An unsaturated tea and sugar solution would be one into which you could add more sugar and have the sugar still dissolve. But what happens to our friend who likes a lot of sugar in their tea and just keeps adding it? Eventually, the sugar will no longer dissolve and the tea and sugar solution will no longer be considered unsaturated.

Similar to a solvent, a solute can be a liquid, a solid, or a gas, but the solute is usually a solid. The factor that most influences the rate of solution is the amount of solute already dissolved in the solution.

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