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What is a Solution?

  • Last Updated : 21 Jul, 2021

A homogeneous mixture composed of two or more substances is called a solution. A solution is formed of two components: the solute and the solvent. The substance dissolved in the solution is called the solute, whereas the component in which the solute is dissolved is known as a solvent. The solution containing water as the solvent is called an aqueous solution. Solutions display homogeneity at the particle level. Solutions may contain solid, liquid or gases dissolved as solutes. The particles of a solution are not visible to the naked eye. 

Properties of Solution

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  • Solution is a homogeneous mixture
  • Solutions are generally very stable, which implies that the solute particles do not separate out on keeping.
  • The particles dissolved are extremely small in size, generally less than 1 nm in diameter.
  • Since the size of solute particles in the solutions is extremely small, it can easily pass through the filter paper. Therefore, components of a solution cannot be separated by filtration.
  • The particles of a solution are negligibly small and cannot be seen even with a microscope.
  • Since, the size of solute particles in the solutions is extremely small, a true solution does not scatter light.
  • The particles are not visible through the naked eye.

Examples of Solution 

  • Beverages like coffee or tea.
  • Air is a solution containing gases primarily, Oxygen (21%) and Nitrogen (78%)
  • Tincture of iodine contains alcohol as the solvent and iodine as the solute.
  • Alloys, homogeneous mixtures of metals. For instance, brass is an alloy of containing 30% zinc and 70% copper.
  • Sugar syrup is a solution containing sugar dissolved as solute in the solvent.
  • Carbonated drinks contain solvent as water and carbon dioxide and other ingredients as solutes.

Types of Solution

Solutions are divided into various categories based on the basis of various factors, like water as a solvent, amount of solute present, amount of solvent and the concentration of solute in two solutions.

On the basis of Water as Solvent

The solutions can be divided into following categories depending on whether they contain water as the solvent: 

Aqueous Solutions

Aqueous Solutions contain water as the solvent. Different solutes can be dissolved in water to form such solutions, such as salt water, sugar water or carbon dioxide in water.

Non-Aqueous Solutions

Non-Aqueous Solutions do not contain water as the solvent. The solvent could be other liquids such as ether, petrol, or carbon tetrachloride etc. Some of the examples of non-aqueous solutions are sulphur in carbon disulphide, naphthalene in benzene, etc.

On the Basis of Amount of Solute

The solutions can be divided into following categories depending on the amount of solute: 

Saturated Solutions

A solvent can dissolve some particular types of solutes in it. The maximum amount of solute that can be dissolved in a solvent at a specified temperature can be termed as a saturated solution. 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 as the saturation point.

Unsaturated Solutions

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. No remaining substances leave at the bottom, that is, all the solute is dissolved in the solvent. An unsaturated solution is basically a chemical solution which has the solute concentration lesser than its corresponding equilibrium solubility. 

Supersaturated solutions

The amount of solute contained in the solution exceeds the maximum amount of solute. The solution has already reached and crossed the saturation point. The solute is dissolved into the solution forcefully by raising the temperature or pressure of the solution. The solute particles on further dissolving, crystal out in the bottom of the container by the method called crystallization.

On the Basis of Amount of Solvent

The solutions can be divided into following categories depending on the amount of solvent: 

Concentrated Solutions

A concentrated solution contains large quantities of solute in the given solvent to form a solution. Some of the examples of concentrated solutions are mango juice, brine solution or dark colour tea.

Dilute Solutions

A dilute solution contains small quantities of solute in the given large quantity of solvent to form a solution. Some of the examples of dilute solutions are salt solution or light colour tea.

On the Basis of Concentration of Solute in Two Solutions

The solutions can be divided into following categories depending on the concentration of solute in two solutions: 

Let us consider a cell placed in a solution in a beaker. Based on the concentration of solute in two solvents(in the cell and in the beaker), we can have the following types of solutions:

Isotonic Solution

The solution contained in the beaker has a higher concentration of solute in it. As a result of this, water emerges out from the cell and into the solution contained in the beaker. This causes the shrinkage of the cell called plasmolysation. 

Hypertonic Solution

Hypertonic solutions contain the same concentration of the solute in them. The water moves across the cell from the solution in the beaker in both directions.

Hypotonic Solution

There is a lower concentration of solute in the solution contained in the beaker. As a result, water goes into the cell which causes the cells to swell up and eventually burst. 

Liquid solutions, such as sugar in water, are the most common kind, but there are also solutions that are gases or solids. Any state of matter (solid, liquid, or gas) can act both as a solute or as a solvent during the formation of a solution. Therefore, depending upon the physical states of solute and solvent, we can classify solutions in nine different types:

Types of Solution SoluteSolvent


Solid – SolidSolidSolidAlloys like brass, bronze etc.
Solid – liquidSolidLiquidThe solution of sugar, salt etc in water.
Solid – GasSolidGasSublimation of substances like iodine, camphor etc into the air.
Liquid – SolidLiquidSolidHydrated salts, mercury in amalgamated zinc, etc.
Liquid – LiquidLiquidLiquidAlcohol in water, benzene in toluene
Liquid – GasLiquidGasAerosol, water vapour in the air.
Gas – SolidGasSolidHydrogen absorbed in palladium
Gas – LiquidGasLiquidAerated drinks
Gas – GasGasGasA mixture of gases, etc

Sample Questions

Question 1. Alloys can’t be separated by physical methods, yet they are considered solutions. Why?


Alloys show the properties of its constituents, that is the components forming it and can also have variable composition. Therefore, they are considered to be solutions. 

Question 2. Define concentration of solution.


The amount of solute present in a specified quantity of solution is referred to as the concentration of a solution. 

Concentration of solution = \frac{amountofsolute}{amountofsolution}

Question 3. Difference between solubility of a solid in a liquid and solubility of a gas in a liquid?


Solubility of a solid in a liquidSolubility of a gas in a liquid

Polar solutes dissolve in polar solvents and non-polar solutes in non-polar solvents.    

Solute + Solvent = Solution 

Many gases like oxygen are soluble in liquids like water 

Solute + Solvent = Solution 

Question 4. Define Aerosol?


A suspension which includes liquid droplets or fine solid particles as the solute dissolved in a gas as the solvent is called an aerosol. Examples : fog, mist or dust.

Question 5. 2ml of water is added to 4g of a powdered drug. The final volume is 3ml. Find the mass by volume percentage of the solution?


Given, Mass of solute = 4g

Volume of solution – 3ml

Mass by volume percentage = \frac{Mass\ of\ Solute}{Volume\ of\ Solution}\times100\\ =\frac{4}{3\ ml}\times100\\ =133\%

Therefore, the mass by volume percentage is 133%.

Question 6. Many people use a solution of Na,PO, to clean walls before putting up wallpaper. The recommended concentration is 1.7% (m/v). Find the mass of Na PO needed to make 2.0L of the solution?



\frac{Mass}{Volume\ percentage} = 1.7\%

Volume of Solution – 2000ml

Mass by volume percentage = \frac{Mass\ of\ Solute}{Volume\ of\ Solution}\times100\\ 1.7\%=\frac{Mass\ of\ Solute}{2000ml}\times100\\

Mass of solute = 34 g

Therefore the mass required is 34g.

Question 7. What is a true solution?


A True Solution is a homogeneous combination of two or more components immersed in a solvent with a particle size of less than 10-9 m or 1 nm. Example: The basic solution of sugar in water. By using filter paper that is often not noticeable to the naked eye, particles cannot be separated from real solutions.

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