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Because it will dissolve so many solvent, what substance is sometimes called the universal solvent?

1 Answer
May 11, 2017




Believe it or not most materials, molecular or ionic, express some water solubility. Because of its dipolar nature, i.e. #""^(delta+)H-stackrel(-delta)O-H^(delta+)#, water is a superb solvent for many ionic species; and also for polar molecules such as alcohols and hydrogen halides. The fact that water is LIGHT and very concentrated (i.e. #>55.5*mol*L^-1#) only lends to its utility. What else? Water is cheap ( a big consideration).

The downside of using water is that it is quite persistent. It is a big deal to dry an organic solvent, or an inorganic salt, and rid it of traces of water.