Solute vs Solvent: Definition, Main Differences, Examples

A solute is a substance added to a solvent to form a solution. It exists in all three states i.e.: solid, liquid, and gas. While Solvents are substances that dissolve solute to make solutions.

In a solution, the solvent and solute are the main components. The quantity of solvent should be more than solute to form a solution.

Solute vs Solvent: Definition, Main Differences, Examples
Examples of Solute and Solvent


In this article, we will discuss Solutes, Solvents, their examples, and the main differences between Solutes vs solvents.

Solute Definition

A solute is a substance added to a solvent to form a solution.  

  • It exists in all three states i.e.: solid, liquid, and gas. 
  • Solubility is the property of a solute to dissolve within the solvent. Solubility depends upon a number of factors.
  • In a solution, the amount of solute is measured in terms of its concentration.
  • The concentration of a solute is determined by the ratio of the solute to the volume of the solution.
  • Solute has a higher boiling point than solvent.
  • A heterogeneous is a type of mixture in which the concentration of solute is not distributed equally.
  • Temperature directly affects the solubility of a solute when the solute is in solid and gas form. While Pressure only affects the solubility of the solute in gas form.
  • Examples of solutes are salt in water, sugar cubes in tea, and protons in the cytosol.

Solvent Definition

Solvents are substances that dissolve solutes to make solutions.
  • Most Solvents are found in a liquid state in nature, while some might be found in gas and solid form. For example, Brass is found in solid form.
  • Solvent breaks down the particles of solute and dissolves them to make a solution.
  • The solvent transfers heat in a solution.
  • Carbon-containing solvents are organic while others are inorganic.
  • Solvents are of two types, Polar solvents, and Non-polar solvents.
  • Water is considered a universal solvent as it dissolves a number of solute particles within it.
  • Solvents have a lower boiling point than solutes.
  • All proportions of a solvent have an equal concentration of solute.
  • Examples of solvents are water, oil, alcohol, etc.

Solute vs Solvent (Main Differences)

Basic For Comparision




A solute is a substance added to a solvent to form a solution.

Solvents are substances that dissolve solutes to make solutions.



A dispersed phase in a solution is called the solute.

A medium phase that disperses solute is called the solvent.


A solute is always in lesser quantity than a solvent in a solution.

The solvent is in more quantity than the solute in a solution.

Physical State

Solute might be solid, liquid, or gas form.

Most of the solvents are in liquid form while others can be in solid and gas.

State of the solution

The solution might or not might be in the form of solute.

The solution is almost in the state of solvents.

Boiling Point

The boiling point is higher than solvents.

The boiling point is lower than solutes.


Solubility depends upon the size of molecules and surface area.

Solubility depends upon the polarity of solvents.

Heat Transfer

Heat is always transferred to the solute in a solution.

Heat is always transferred from the solvents in a solution.


Salt in water, sugar cubes in tea, and protons in crystals are some examples of solutes.

Water, oil, tea, alcohol, etc. are some examples of solvents.

Examples of Solutes

Salt in Water

  • Salt(NaCl) is a solute and water(H2O) is a solvent.
  • The negatively charged ion of NaCl (salt) is attracted by the hydrogen particles of water(H20) which is slightly charged. Likewise, the attraction occurs between Sodium(Na) and Oxygen(O2) atoms.
  • The attraction between them causes the breakdown of NaCl (salt) into small particles which then dissolve in the water.
  • The surface area of the solute particle is responsible for the time period and range of solubility.
  • No salt crystal will be visible, once all the Nacl (salt) is dissolved in the solution.

Carbon dioxide in Soda

  • Carbon dioxide(CO2) is a solute and Soda (Carbonated drink) is a solvent.
  • The bubbles and tangy flavors in carbonated drinks are caused by  Carbon dioxide gas (Co2).
  • This happens because carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid when dissolved in water ( in this case soda) which increases the pH level of it between 3 to 4.

Examples of Solvent

Water (Universal solvent)

  • Water is called the universal solvent as it dissolves different types of solute particles than any other common solvents.
  • Water is a very Polar Molecule. Oxygen is highly electronegative and increases the polarization in water.
  • Water(H2o) can attract both positively charged and negatively charged ions as it has a slightly positive charge near the hydrogen(H2) and a negative charge near the oxygen(O2) atom.
  • Water is an essential solvent as it travels and picks up different solutes along its way like minerals, salts, and different nutrients to keep our earth functioning.

Cooking Oil

  • Cooking Oil is another important solvent as it prevents the sticking of solutes on the pan.
  • We can cook our food with hot oil.
  • If we compare, cooking oil with other petroleum products, cooking oil has a more dissolving capacity. It has also less effect on the environment and less toxicity

Watch Video Animation: Solute and Solvent (By makemegenius)

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  • Parbati
    Parbati May 19, 2023 at 11:33 AM

    This note helped me to complete my assignment on time. I like to thank you for this notes on solute vs solvent.

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