Nonvolatile Definition (Chemistry and Technology)

Understand What Nonvolatile Means

Nonvolatile liquids do not readily evaporate.
Nonvolatile liquids do not readily evaporate. WLADIMIR BULGAR / Getty Images

Nonvolatile Definition in Chemistry

In chemistry, the term nonvolatile refers to a substance that does not readily evaporate into a gas under existing conditions. In other words, a nonvolatile material exerts a low vapor pressure and has a slow rate of evaporation.

Alternate Spellings: non volatile, non-volitile

Examples: Glycerin (C3H8O3) is a nonvolatile liquid. Sugar (sucrose) and salt (sodium chloride) are examples of nonvolatile solids.

It's probably easier to imagine a nonvolatile substance if you consider the properties of materials that are volatile. Examples include alcohol, mercury, gasoline, and perfume. Volatile substances readily release their molecules into air. You typically don't smell nonvolatile materials because they don't convert from liquids or solids into the vapor phase.

Nonvolatile Definition in Technology

Another definition of nonvolatile refers to non-volatile memory or NVMe. Non-volatile memory is a type of semiconductor technology in which data or coding is stored in a device (e.g., a computer) without the need for a continuous power supply. USB devices, memory cards, and solid-state drives (SSDs) are examples of data storage devices that employ NVMe.