5 Significant Difference between Solute and Solvent

What is the difference between solute and solvent?

A homogenous mixture of two or more substances is known as a solution. Solute and solvent are two components of a solution.

The core difference between solute and solvent is that a solute is a substance that dissolves while the solvent is a substance that is responsible for dissolving.

Difference between Solute and Solvent

What Is Solute?

A solute is a substance that dissolves in a solution. It can either be a gas, solid or liquid. A solute is mostly a solid compound.

The solute is normally a minor component of a solution and it is the reason why the concentration tends to be lower than that of solvent.

Once the solute gets dissolved in the solution, the chemical and physical properties of the solution tend to change.

When a water-soluble ionic compound dissolves in water, it results in a separate aqueous ion. On the other hand, if the covalent compound dissolves in water, it results in separate molecules.

A solute can either be polar or non-polar. Polar solutes are substances that can dissolve in the polar solvent while non-polar solutes are those that can dissolve in a non-polar solvent.

Main Features of Solutes

  1. Have a high boiling point
  2. Can be solid, liquid or gas
  3. Tend to be affected by temperature, volume, and pressure
  4. Increase surface area increase solubility

What Is Solvent?

A solvent is a substance in which compounds get dissolved in it to form a solution. The solvent is majorly liquid and water is the main solvent used to dissolve solutes.

The solvent can either be polar or non-polar. A polar solvent is those that have a high dielectric constant and have one or more electronegative atoms such as N, H, or O.

Examples of polar solvents are Alcohol, ketones, carboxylic acids, and amides. A polar solvent is further subdivided into polar protic solvents and polar aprotic solvents.

On the other hand, the non-polar solvent is those that contain bonds similar to that of electronegative atoms such as C and H.

Main Features of Solvents

  1. Have a low boiling point
  2. Can easily evaporate
  3. Exist as a liquid in most cases
  4. Can either be an organic or inorganic solvent
  5. Have colors and odors
  6. Help to regulate the temperature of a solution

Comparison Chart: Solute vs Solvent

Basic Terms Solute Solvent
Definition It is a substance that can dissolve to form a solution It is a substance in which different compounds get dissolve in it to form a solution
Physical State Solid, liquid and gas Liquid
Solubility Depend on solute properties like surface area Depend on the polarity of the solvent
Boiling Point High boiling point Low boiling point
Example Mixing sugar into water to form a solution where sugar is a solute Mixing sugar in water to form a sweet solution where water is a solvent

Core Difference between Solute and Solvent In Point Form 

  1. The boiling point of the solvent is lower than that of solutes.
  2. The solubility of solutes depends on its surface area while the solvent depends on polarity.
  3. The major physical state of solvent is liquid while that of solute is solid, liquid, and gas.
  4. The solute is a substance that dissolves to form a solution whereas a solvent is a substance that dissolves different compounds to form a solution

Core Similarities between Solute and Solvent

  1. Both are part of solutions
  2. Both have polar and non-polar ends

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Comparison Video


Solutes and solvent are mostly used in the chemical laboratories in colleges or institutions for learning. The main components of a solution are solutes and solvent.

A homogenous solution occurs when different solutes dissolve in a solvent uniformly. A solvent is capable of holding two or more solutes.

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