Solubility is the
property of a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical substance called solute to
dissolve in a liquid solvent to form a homogeneous solution of the solute in the
solvent. The solubility of a substance fundamentally depends on the used solvent
as well as on temperature and pressure. The extent of the solubility of a
substance in a specific solvent is measured as the saturation concentration
where adding more solute does not increase the concentration of the solution.
The solvent is generally a liquid, which can be a pure substance or a mixture.
One also speaks of solid solution, but rarely of solution in a gas (see
vapor-liquid equilibrium instead).
The extent of solubility ranges widely, from infinitely soluble (fully miscible)
such as ethanol in water, to poorly soluble, such as silver chloride in water.
The term insoluble is often applied to poorly or very poorly soluble compounds.
Under certain conditions the equilibrium solubility can be exceeded to give a
so-called supersaturated solution, which is metastable.
Solubility is not to be confused with the ability to dissolve or liquefy a
substance, because they might occur not only because of dissolution but also
because of a chemical reaction. For example, zinc is insoluble in hydrochloric
acid, but does dissolve in it by chemical reaction into zinc chloride and
hydrogen, where zinc chloride is then soluble in hydrochloric acid. Solubility
does not also depend on particle size or other kinetic factors; given enough
time, even large particles will eventually dissolve.
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