Solute Definition and Examples in Chemistry

A solute is the chemical dissolved in a solution. In this case, acrylic paint is the solute and water is the solvent.
A solute is the chemical dissolved in a solution. In this case, acrylic paint is the solute and water is the solvent. antonioiacobelli / Getty Images

Solute Definition

A solute is defined as the substance that is dissolved in a solution. For solutions of fluids, the solvent is present in greater amount than the solute. Concentration is a measurement of the amount of solute present in a chemical solution, with respect to the amount of solvent.

Examples of Solutes

Usually, a solute is a solid that is dissolved into a liquid. An everyday example of a solute is salt in water.

Salt is the solute that dissolves in water as the solvent to form a saline solution.

On the other hand, water vapor is considered a solute in air, since nitrogen and oxygen are present in much larger concentration levels in the gas.

When two liquids are mixed to form a solution, the solute is the species present in the smaller ratio. For example, in a 1 M sulfuric acid solution, sulfuric acid is the solute while water is the solvent.

Solutes and solvents may also be applied to alloys and solid solutions. Carbon may be considered a solute in steel, for example.