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About water solubility
- Jan 09, 2019 -

Solubility is not to be confused with the ability to 'dissolve' a substance, because the solution might also occur because of a chemical reaction. For example, zinc 'dissolves' (with effervescence) in hydrochloric acid as a result of a chemical reaction releasing hydrogen gas in a displacement reaction. The zinc ions are soluble in the acid.

The solubility of a substance is an entirely different property from the rate of solution, which is how fast it dissolves. The smaller a particle is, the faster it dissolves although there are many factors to add to this generalization.

Crucially solubility applies to all areas of chemistry, geochemistry, inorganic, physical, organic and biochemistry. In all cases it will depend on the physical conditions (temperature, pressure and concentration) and the enthalpy and entropy directly relating to the solvents and solutes concerned. By far the most common solvent in chemistry is water which is a solvent for most ionic compounds as well as a wide range of organic substances. This is a crucial factor in acidity/alkalinity and much environmental and geochemical work.

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