Q:

What is the difference between unsaturated, saturated and supersaturated solutions?

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Quick Answer

An unsaturated solution contains less than the maximum soluble material, while a saturated solution contains all of the material that it is able to dissolve in its current state, with excess material remaining undissolved. A supersaturated solution holds more of the solvent than it would be able to under normal circumstances.

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What is the difference between unsaturated, saturated and supersaturated solutions?
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Full Answer

A solution that is unsaturated does not have excess material or solvent within the liquid. Unsaturated solutions have the potential to effectively dissolve more material before reaching the point of full saturation.

A saturated solution is as saturated as it can possibly be under normal conditions. This means that the temperature of the solution, the force applied to it and any other variables are neutral and within normal ranges. A saturated solution is unable to dissolve or absorb any further solvent, and any solvent that is added after this saturation point remains whole, usually floating to the bottom of the solution's container.

Supersaturated solutions are not possible under normal, unmodified circumstances. In order to supersaturate a solution, temperature can be raised, which allows more solvent to be dissolved into the solution. Alternatively, high pressure can create a supersaturated solution. The third way to produce supersaturated solution is to change volume, such as by evaporation.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a supersaturated solution?

    A:

    A supersaturated solution is a solution with more dissolved solute than the solvent would normally dissolve in its current conditions. Supersaturation is achieved by dissolving a solute in one set of conditions, then transferring it to other conditions without triggering any release of the solute. Supersaturated solutions are extremely unstable, but often require a triggering event to begin returning to a stable state via the solute coming out of solution.

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  • Q:

    What is the definition of a "saturated solution"?

    A:

    A saturated solution is one in which any additional solute added to the solution is no longer dissolved. Solutions are combinations of solvents – most commonly liquids - and solutes, which are typically solids.

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  • Q:

    How do I make a saturated sodium chloride solution?

    A:

    To make a saturated solution of sodium chloride, find the solubility of sodium chloride in water, mix a solution of sodium chloride and water, and watch for saturation. The solubility of sodium chloride is 357 grams per 1 liter of cold water. The solubility of sodium chloride will change based on the temperature of the water. To make the saturated solution, add 357 grams of sodium chloride to 1 liter of water, and mix thoroughly. The final solution is saturated.

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  • Q:

    What is an example of a saturated solution?

    A:

    A glass of sweet tea with a lot of sugar is an example of a saturated solution. A solution becomes saturated when no more solute can be dissolved by the liquid because it already contains as much solute as it can hold.

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