Solutes vs. Solvents

  • Thread starter gcn_zelda
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  • #1
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I'm in College Preparatory Biology in high school(9th grade) and my friend was trying to prove my teacher wrong(it's fun :P).
He said that a solute is the same thing as a solvent.

According to his dictionary, a solute is a substance that can be dissolved into another substance.
Also according to his dictionary, a solvent is a substance that can dissolve anyother substance.

My friend looked up dissolve and it said "the act of changing the purity of a substance by causing it to pass into another substance"

My friend argued that if you pour Kool-Aid into water, the Kool-Aid would be the solute, and the water would be the solvent, right?
If you pour water into the Kool-Aid, however, the water would be the solute, and the Kool-Aid would be solvent.

So Kool-Aid = Solute or Solvent
and Water = Solute or Solvent.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
NateTG
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That might be a bad example because water doesn't disolve in kool aid.

You should probably use something different like alcohol and water, or gasoline and oil if you want solution in both directions.
 
  • #3
Bystander
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Everything is soluble in everything else? Close --- needs some qualifications regarding stabilities at T, P, and chemical potentials of solvent and solute.

Water in Kool-aid? Sure --- think about dry Kool-aid vs. the stuff that's been sitting in the cupboard all summer in 100% humidity. Pouring water into Kool-aid that's already in solution? Nope, that's a dilution process.

Be careful (or caution your friend to be careful) using a dictionary to support scientific arguments --- Merriam Webster, Roget, and the Oxford are NOT recognized authorities on the very specific uses of words within scientific contexts.
 

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