Saturated Definition in Chemistry

What Does Saturated Mean in Chemistry?

Ethane is an example of an unsaturated compound.
Ethane is an example of an unsaturated compound. Todd Helmenstine

Saturated Definition #1

This definition refers to a saturated compound. A saturated substance is one in which the atoms are linked by single bonds. A fully saturated compound contains no double or triple bonds. Alternatively, if a molecule contains double or triple bonds, it is considered to be unsaturated.

Example: ethane (C2H6)

Saturated Definition #2

This definition refers to a saturated solution. In this context, saturated refers to a point of maximum concentration, in which no more solute may be dissolved in a solvent.

Saturation, in this context, depends on temperature and pressure. Usually, raising the temperature allows a solution to dissolve more solute.

Example: When you grow crystals from an aqueous (water) solution, you dissolve as much solute into the water as you can, to the point where no more will dissolve. This produces a saturated solution.

Saturated Definition #3

Although not a technical chemistry definition, saturated may mean thoroughly soaked with as much water or other solvent as possible.

Example: If a protocol asks you to completely saturate a filter paper with solution, this means to thoroughly wet it.