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What is a solvent?

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Quick Answer

A solvent is the substance into which another substance dissolves to form a solution. It is the largest part of the solution. Its counterpart, the solute, is the part that dissolves within the solvent.

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What is a solvent?
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Full Answer

Liquids or gases are potential solvents. Several rules apply to help determine which is the solvent and which is the solute in a given solution. First, the solvent is there in greater quantity than the solute. Secondly, the solute has a change of state when it dissolves. Water is often called a "universal solvent" because it dissolves so many different substances. This fact is especially important within the human body.

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