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Question Video: Describing the Point at Which a Solution Becomes Saturated Chemistry

At what point does a solution become saturated?

02:45

Video Transcript

At what point does a solution become saturated?

A solution is a homogeneous mixture consisting of one or more solutes dissolved in a solvent. There is a maximum amount of solute that can be dissolved in a solvent to create a solution. This depends on the properties of the solute and solvent as well as the temperature. We can qualitatively describe the amount of solute dissolved in a solvent using the terms unsaturated, saturated, and supersaturated.

To help us better understand these terms, let’s consider a beaker that contains 100 grams of water at 26 degrees Celsius. To the beaker, we’ll add 10 grams of potassium chloride. After adding the potassium chloride and stirring, we’ll find that all 10 grams dissolve in the water. If we continue to add potassium chloride to this solution, we’ll notice that more potassium chloride can dissolve in the water. So, we haven’t yet added the maximum amount of potassium chloride that can dissolve in 100 grams of water at this temperature. We can describe this solution as unsaturated, a solution that contains less than the maximum amount of solute dissolved in a solvent at a given temperature.

As we continue to add potassium chloride to the water, we’ll eventually reach a point where no more potassium chloride will dissolve. At this point, we’ve created a saturated solution, a solution that contains the maximum amount of solute dissolved in a solvent at a given temperature.

The maximum amount of solute that can dissolve in the solvent is dependent on the temperature. So, if we increase the temperature of this solution, we can increase the amount of potassium chloride that will dissolve in the water. If the solution is then slowly cooled, it is possible to create a solution in which more than the maximum amount of solute that should be able to dissolve is dissolved in the solvent at the cooler temperature. This type of solution is a supersaturated solution.

To answer the question, we want to know at what point does a solution become saturated. We know that a saturated solution contains the maximum amount of solute dissolved in a solvent at a given temperature. And this type of solution is reached when no more solute dissolves in the solvent. So, the point at which a solution becomes saturated is when the maximum amount of solute has been dissolved. And therefore, no more solute will dissolve in the solution.

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