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Saturated and Unsaturated Solutions

Last Updated : 19 Dec, 2023
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Saturated and Unsaturated Solutions are the types of solutions based on the concentration of solute in the solvent for any given solution. A saturated solution is one that contains the maximum amount of solute capable of being dissolved at a given temperature, whereas unsaturated solutions contain less than the maximum amount of solute capable of being dissolved at a given temperature. Because carbonated water is saturated with carbon, it emits carbon through bubbles. Sand in water is an example of an unsaturated.

Solution Definition

Solution is a homogenous mixture of two components: solute and solvent. The solute is the component that is present in the minority and the solvent is the component that is present in the majority. A solute must be added to a solvent in order for a solution to form. At first, the solute dissolves in a solvent and forms a homogeneous solution. A solution in which solutes dissolve is referred to as an unsaturated solution. A solution is made up of two types of particles: solutes and solvents. Water is commonly used as a solvent (which is one of the reasons why water is also called the universal solvent) Some examples of solutions are,

  • A solution of sugar in water
  • A solution of salt in water
  • A solution of air in water
  • A solution of oxygen in nitrogen

Saturated Solution

Saturated Solution is defined as follows,

A saturated solution is a chemical solution that contains the largest quantity of solute contained in the solvent at the given temperature. The solute cannot be dissolved anymore in a saturated solution at that temperature.

The saturation point of any liquid is determined by the type of the material and the temperature. A saturated solution is one in which the quantity of dissolved solute equals the saturation point of the solvent. A solvent can dissolve some particular types of solutes in it. 

When the maximum amount of solute is dissolved in a solvent at a specified temperature then the solution can be termed as saturated solution. A saturated solution must not be heated as on heating the solution will become unsaturated. A solution cannot dissolve any more solute further upon reaching saturation. The undissolved substances remain at the bottom. The point at which the solute stops dissolving in the solvent is termed the saturation point.

Examples of Saturated Solution

Some examples of Saturated Solutions are as follows:

  • Soil is a saturated mixture consisting of nitrogen. On attaining the saturation point, the excess nitrogen is emitted out into the air in the form of gas.
  • Beverages, such as cold drinks are saturated solutions of dissolved CO2 in water.
  • Protein drinks which is a saturated solution of protein powder in milk or any other solvent.

Unsaturated Solution

Unsaturated Solution is defined as,

The solution in which more solute can be added at a given temperature is called unsaturated solution. Unsaturated solutions have the ability to dissolve additional solute until they achieve saturation. Solutes will no longer dissolve in the solvent after reaching the saturation threshold, resulting in unsaturated solutions. 

As a result, all solutions are considered to be largely unsaturated in nature before being transformed into saturated solutions by adding solute to them. The amount of solute that is contained in lesser amounts than the maximum value, that is before the solution reaches the saturation level is called an unsaturated solution. An unsaturated solution is basically a chemical solution that has a solute concentration lesser than its corresponding equilibrium solubility. 

Examples of Unsaturated Solution

Some examples of Unsaturated Solutions are as follows:

  • Salt or sugar dissolved in the water below the saturation point.
  • Air or mist.
  • Iced coffee.
  • Vinegar is the acetic acid solution in water.

Interconversion of Saturated and Unsaturated Solution

 Saturated, Unsaturated Solution and Supersaturated Solution


Saturated solution on heating becomes unsaturated whereas an unsaturated solution becomes saturated upon cooling. On heating the saturated solution, the solubility of that particular solute increases in the given solvent. As a result of this, more solute can be dissolved into the solvent. However, in the case of cooling a solution, the solute particles which were initially dissolved in the solvent separate out as crystals.

Supersaturated Solution

Supersaturated Solution is defined as,

The solution in which more solute is added exceeding the saturation limit at given temperature is called Supersaturated Solution.

A supersaturated solution is prepared by adding more and more solute upon heating. We know that upon heating a saturated solution becomes unsaturated on heating, in this heated solution add more solute and keep this process going by elevating the temperature and adding more solutes and cooling it thus making the solution supersaturated as compared to the initially saturated solution.

Difference between Saturated and Unsaturated Solution

The key differences between Saturated and Unsaturated solutions are as follows:


Saturated Solution

Unsaturated Solution

Dissolved Solute Concentration

Contains the maximum amount of solute that can be dissolved at a given temperature Contains less solute than the maximum amount that can be dissolved at a given temperature

Equilibrium State

In a dynamic equilibrium where the rate of dissolution equals the rate of precipitation Not in a dynamic equilibrium, as the rate of dissolution is higher than the rate of precipitation

Solvent Capacity

Solvent is unable to dissolve any additional solute without changing temperature or pressure Solvent has the potential to dissolve more solute


No visible precipitation occurs under normal conditions Precipitation may occur when an additional solute is added

Temperature Effect

Saturated solution temperature affects solubility (higher temperature can dissolve more solute) Temperature has no significant effect on solubility


Conductivity is at its maximum as ions are in equilibrium Conductivity is lower due to fewer ions in the solution


Appears clear and transparent May appear cloudy or contain undissolved particles

How to find whether the given Solution is Saturated or Unsaturated?

To find whether any given solution is saturated or not, we can use the following steps:

Step 1: Add a small amount of solute to the solution.

Step 2: Stir the solution thoroughly.

Step 3: If the solute dissolves, the solution is unsaturated.

Step 4: If the solute does not dissolve, the solution is saturated.

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FAQs on Saturated and Unsaturated Solutions

Q1: What is a Solution?


Solution can be defined as the homogenous mixture of two components solute and solvent.

Q2:  What is a Saturated Solution?


A saturated solution is a solution in which no more solute can be dissolved at a given temperature and pressure.

Q3: How is a Saturated Solution formed?


A saturated solution is formed by adding solute to a solvent and continuously stirring the mixture until no more solute can dissolve.

Q4: What happens if more Solute is added to a Saturated Solution?


If more solute is added to a saturated solution, it will remain undissolved at the bottom of the container.

Q5: What is an Unsaturated Solution?


An unsaturated solution is a solution in which the solvent has dissolved less solute than it is capable of dissolving at a given temperature and pressure. There is still room for more solute to be dissolved in the solvent.

Q6: How is an Unsaturated Solution formed?


An unsaturated solution is formed by adding less solute to a solvent than it can dissolve at a given temperature and pressure. In this case, the solute will dissolve completely in the solvent, forming a homogeneous mixture.

Q7: What happens if more Solute is added to an Unsaturated Solution?


If more solute is added to an unsaturated solution, it will continue to dissolve until the solution becomes saturated. The solute particles will mix evenly with the solvent particles, resulting in a higher concentration of the solute in the solution.

Q8: What is the difference between a Saturated Solution and an Unsaturated Solution?


The key difference between a saturated solution and an unsaturated solution is that in a saturated solution, the dissolved solute is the maximum amount of solute, a solvent can dissolve at a given temperature and pressure, while in an unsaturated solution, we can dissolve more solute in solvent.

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