Solute Definition and Examples in Chemistry

A solute is a substance that is dissolved in a solution

Multi-colored acrylic paints dissolving in water
The acrylic paint would be the solute and the water is the solvent.

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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, the solvent, to form a saline solution.

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

Different Types of Solutes

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.

The terms "solute" and "solvent" can also be applied to alloys and solid solutions. Carbon may be considered a solute in steel, for example.