What is the difference between an unsaturated solution and a saturated solution?

1 Answer
May 30, 2017

Answer:

Well the difference is usually poorly appreciated at undergraduate level........

Explanation:

A saturated solution is a solution that contains the same amount of solute that would be in equilibrium with UNDISSOLVED solute.

#"Saturation"# thus defines an equilibrium condition:

#"Solid solute "stackrel"solvent"rightleftharpoons" Dissolved solute"#

As well as a solute, and a solvent, a temperature is usually specified because a hot solution can generally dissolve more solute than a cold one.

And an unsaturated solution is a solution that holds an amount of solute that is LESS than the amount that would be in equilibrium with undissolved solute.

Definitions of #"saturation"# such as................

#"the solvent holds all the solute that it can"#.........

ARE INADEQUATE and INCORRECT, inasmuch under certain conditions I could form a #"supersaturated solution"# where the solvent holds an amount of solute GREATER than would be in equilibrium with undissolved solute.

If you are unclear as to my emphasis, come again, because this is a very important definition to understand.

And for once I found the relevant links...........