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What is a Solvent?
Jul 18, 2017

A solvent is simply a liquid that dissolves a solute. The solvent is the component of a solution that is present in greater amount.

Perhaps the most common solvent is water in everyday life. Many other solvents are organic compounds, such as tetrachloroethylene, benzene,  or turpentine.

In chemistry, a common rule for determining is "like dissolves like." Solvents composed of polar molecules, such as water, dissolve other polar molecules, such as table salt, and nonpolar solvents, such as gasoline, dissolve nonpolar substances such as wax. The solubility is the degree that a solvent dissolves a given solute. For example, ethyl alcohol is highly soluble in water. Vinegar is insoluble in oil, and the two substances will quickly separate into two layers even after being shaken well.