Dilutions of Solutions
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What is dilution?
Dilution is the process of lessening the concentration of a solute in a solution.
Essentially, a solution has two key components:
- A solvent: Which is present in higher quantity compared to the other.
- A solute: The substance that is present in lesser quantity and is dissolved in the solution.
For example, if you mix two spoons of sugar in a glass of water, sugar is the solute and water is the solvent. When you are diluting a solution, you are decreasing the concentration of the solvent.
What is concentration of a solution?
The quantity of solute present in a given solution is its concentration. The concentration of a solution is often expressed in a term called Molarity, denoted by M.
Molarity means the number of moles of a solute in the total liters of a solution.
Molarity of a solute = Number of moles of solute/ Total volume of the solution in liters
Note: Mole is the fundamental quantity in chemistry that is used to count a given element or a compound. For more information on moles, check our free online molar mass calculator.
What are the types of dilution?
Dilution of a solution is measured in two ways:
- Dilution by weight: This includes adding the solvent by weight. For example, when you add 10grams of sugar to a beaker containing 80ml of water and dissolve it thoroughly. Add some more water to make a final solution of volume 100ml. Here you are diluting by weight.
- Dilution by volume: This includes adding the solvent by volume. For example, add 10 ml of sugar solution to 90 ml and stir thoroughly to make a final solution of 100ml.
Consider this scenario. If on a bottle of solution, you find that it has 10% of alcohol by volume, it means that the solution contains 10ml of alcohol dissolved in 100ml of solution. A similar explanation holds good for dilution by weight also.
Key points to note about the dilution of a solution:
- When you are diluting, it means that you are adding more solvent, but not lessening the amount of solute.
- The solute should be capable of thoroughly mixable with solvent so that you can separate them in simple methods from the final solution.
What is the formula to calculate dilution?
The dilution of a solution is calculated using the following formula:
c1V1= c2V2Where, c1 = initial concentration or molarity
V2 = initial volume
c1 = final concentration or molarity
V2 = final volume
What are the day to day examples to understand dilution?
In our day to day life, we come across many dilutions knowingly or unknowingly. Here is a list of examples from our day to day life that helps you to understand better the concept of dilution of a solution:
- Detergent water, in dishwasher or washing machine or while soaking clothes.
- Carbonated drinks, they contain carbon dioxide dissolved in water
- Homemade fruit juices contain concentrated fruit juice plus added water.
- Tea or coffee, here you mix sugar or milk to the black tea or black coffee.
Why dilution is important?
Dilution is an important concept because of many of its applications, as discussed below:
- The design and development of drugs or medicines are based on the dilution of various components itself. Any deviation from the specified concentrations may leave the medicine either ineffective or fatal.
- Nurses administer intravenous (V) medicines using the principle of dilution itself. They combine properly the volume of solvent and solute as mentioned by doctors and administer to the patients.
- In biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, and physics, a process called serial dilution is adopted. Here the concentration of a solute is changed by serially adding the solvent in a step by step manner.
- In the food and beverage industry too, the concept of dilution is heavily relied upon. You must have seen on packed juices a note that “Made from fruit concentrates”. It means first concentrated juice I extracted from fruits, they are dried to remove natural water, and the obtained concentrate is methodically mixed with water.
- You should never consume direct extracts of vegetables. Juices, for example, drawn from beetroot, carrot, spinach, etc. must be mixed with water before you consume them. They are actually too strong on our stomach lining otherwise.
Quick tip on dilution:
Here is the most common confusion that every student faces – When you want to make a solution of one liter, with, say, 250ml of concentrated solution, you should not add 250ml of concentrate to one liter of water!!
Instead, take 250ml of concentrate in a one-liter measuring jar, and add water of 750 ml and mix thoroughly. This is the appropriate solution you needed to make.
Have you seen this fun line ever - “Don’t drink water while studying. Because chemistry says that concentration decreases on adding water”.
Lol! There is a fact in this – that addition of water decreases the concentration of liquids, but not your brain’s! In fact, drinking adequate water is essential while studying because it keeps your brain hydrated and active! Do you know this: A human brain contains 73% of water itself? And if you are not taking enough water at regular intervals, you experience fatigue and headaches too!
How CalculatorHut’s dilution calculator helps you?
Using CalculatorHut’s online free dilution calculator, you can easily calculate the concentrations and volumes of dilution of a solution very easily. It is user-friendly and gives the results instantly!
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