How can a supersaturated solution be made?

May 26, 2014

A supersaturated solution is any solution that has more solute available than can dissolve at the given temperature and volume of the solvent.

According to the solubility curve of Sodium Chloride NaCl a 40 gram sample of NaCl will dissolve in 100 grams of water at 40 C. This amount would make what is referred to as a Saturated solution. The perfect amount of solute in a given amount of a solvent at a given temperature.

If we were to increase the amount of salt in this solution at 40 C the salt would be unable to dissolve completely. We would have a Supersaturated solution. A solution that contains more solute than the solvent can hold at a given temperature.

If we were to decrease the amount of NaCl in 100 g of water at 40 C below 40 grams, we would create an Unsaturated solution. A solution that holds less solute than the solvent amount can dissolve at a given temperature.

When I make my Minute Maid Lemonade, the can suggests 41/3 cans of water for every can of concentrate. If I were to add 6 cans of water this would reduce the concentration of lemon in the water and create an unsaturated solution of lemonade. If I were to only add three cans of water my lemonade concentration would be very high and I would have a supersaturated solution.