Shrinithi Mahadevan

Supersaturated Solution Study Guide

A supersaturated solution has more absorbed solute than a saturated solution.

INTRODUCTION

We all know how refreshing a cold glass of lemonade is in the exhausting summer season. The lemonade we make is an ideal example of a solution in chemical terms. A solute, which is relatively lower in quantity, is added into a greater quantity of a solvent in a solution. In the case of lemonade, the water is the solvent (as it is present in a greater quantity), and the sugar and the lime juice are the solutes that get dissolved in the solvent. But what happens if we continue to add the solutes in our solvent? 🤔

Super saturated Solution Source

WHAT IS A SUPERSATURATED SOLUTION IN CHEMISTRY?

A supersaturated solution has gone above saturation. When the solute in a liquid is in a stable system with the non-soluble form of the solute, the solution is said to be saturated. When a solution's solute concentration reaches its maximum potential concentration, it is saturated. On the other hand, a supersaturated solution has more absorbed solute than a saturated solution.

Supersaturated Solution Source

A supersaturated solution of Sodium Acetate would be an ideal example. We know that sodium acetate does not recrystallize easily. No crystals appear when a saturated sodium acetate solution is cooled down, but surplus dissolved solute crystallizes when a small quantity of solute crystals are seeded into a supersaturated solution. This recrystallization process is achieved because of the supersaturated sodium of acetate solution.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUPERSATURATED SOLUTION

  • Concentration of solute surpasses its solubility

A solute's solubility tends to increase as the temperature is raised. As a result, if a saturated solution produced at a high temperature is refrigerated, it will become a supersaturated solution as long as crystallization and condensation processes are prevented.

  • Metastable solution

In a supersaturated solution, the extra solute represents the extra energy. In other words, a supersaturated solution is stuck in an energy state more than its normal condition because it is not in dynamic equilibrium.

  • Crystallization

Since the crystallization and condensation activities ordinarily bring the solutions into dynamic equilibrium are kinetically prevented, supersaturated solutions arise. The heat required to form these crystals and droplets is unavailable in some biochemical conditions, such as cooling a supersaturated solution. In such circumstances, adding seed crystals is the only method to get around the kinetic restrictions.

CONCLUSION:

  • A supersaturated solution has more absorbed solute than a saturated solution
  • It can be made by boiling a saturated solution, putting additional solute, and slowly reducing its temperature.
  • A solute's solubility tends to increase as the temperature is raised.
  • As a result, if a saturated solution produced at a high temperature is refrigerated, it will become a supersaturated solution as long as crystallization and condensation processes are prevented.

FAQs:

1. What is a supersaturated solution? Give an example?

A supersaturated solution has more dispersed solute than the maximum quantity of solute that may be dispersed at a specific temperature. A heat pack is an ideal example of a supersaturated solution made up of material such as sodium acetate.

2. What are the characteristics of supersaturated solutions?

The major characteristics of a supersaturated solution are

(1) The concentration of the solute surpasses its solubility

(2) the solution is metastable (i.e., not in equilibrium)

(3) crystallization and condensation activities are kinetically suppressed

3. What are a supersaturated solution and an unsaturated solution?

A supersaturated solution has more dispersed solute than the maximum quantity of solute that may be dispersed at a specific temperature. In contrast, the amount of solute that can be dissolved in an unsaturated solution is less than the maximum amount.

4. How is a supersaturated solution formed?

Supersaturated solutions are generally formed by adding more solute in a heated solution.

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SOURCES:

  1. Supersaturated Solutions. https://www.ck12.org/c/chemistry/supersaturated-solutions/lesson/Supersaturated-Solutions-CHEM/. Accessed 1 Feb 2022.
  2. Supersaturated Solution: Definition & Example. supersaturated-solution-definition-example-quiz.html. Accessed 1 Feb 2022.