Solubility is the property of a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical substance called solute to dissolve in a solvent to form a homogeneous solution. The solubility of a substance fundamentally depends on the used solvent as well as on temperature and pressure.
The extent of the solubility of a substance in a specific solvent is measured as the saturation concentration where adding more solute does not increase the concentration of the solution.
Solubility occurs under dynamic equilibrium, which means that solubility results from the simultaneous and opposing processes of dissolution and phase joining.
The solubility equilibrium occurs when the two processes proceed at a constant rate.
The term solubility is also used in some fields where the solute is altered by solvolysis. For example, many metals and their oxides are said to be "soluble in hydrochloric acid," whereas the aqueous acid degrades the solid to give soluble products.
It is also true that most ionic solids are degraded by polar solvents, but such processes are reversible. In those cases where the solute is not recovered upon evaporation of the solvent, the process is referred to as solvolysis. The thermodynamic concept of solubility does not apply straightforwardly to solvolysis.
In general, solubility in the solvent phase can be given only for a specific solute that is thermodynamically stable, and the value of the solubility will include all the species in the solution.
A popular aphorism used for predicting solubility is "like dissolves like". This statement indicates that a solute will dissolve best in a solvent that has a similar chemical structure to itself. This view is simplistic, but it is a useful rule of thumb. The overall solvation capacity of a solvent depends primarily on its polarity.
For example, a very polar (hydrophilic) solute such as urea is very soluble in highly polar water, less soluble in fairly polar methanol, and practically insoluble in non-polar solvents such as benzene. In contrast, a non-polar or lipophilic solute such as naphthalene is insoluble in water, fairly soluble in methanol, and highly soluble in non-polar benzene.
The solubility of one substance in another is determined by the balance of intermolecular forces between the solvent and solute, and the entropy change that accompanies the solvation. Factors such as temperature and pressure will alter this balance, thus changing the solubility.
The solubility of a given solute in a given solvent typically depends on temperature. For many solids dissolved in liquid water, the solubility increases with temperature up to 100 °C.
Solubility is of fundamental importance in a large number of practical applications, ranging from ore processing, to the use of medicines. Solubility is often said to be one of the ‘characteristic properties of a substance’.
The synthesis of chemical compounds, by the milligram in a laboratory, or by the ton in industry, both make use of the relative solubilities of the product, as well as starting materials, and side products to achieve separation.
Date: 2015-01-29; view: 1748