Saturated Solution Examples
In chemistry, research into solutions and the dissolving properties of other substances has led to the understanding that a solution can reach "saturated" status. This means that the solution has reached the level in which no more of the added substance, also known as the solvent, can be dissolved. Chemists know that the solution has reached its saturation when any additional amount of the substance that is added simply remains as a solid precipitate or is released as a gas.
Different factors can affect the point at which a solution becomes saturated, such as its temperature or pressure, or the chemical structure of the solvent that is being added. A saturated solution can be made by repeatedly adding the solvent until no more of it dissolves, evaporating a solution until the solute begins to appear as a solid, or introducing something called "seed crystals" to a highly saturated solution.
1. Drinking Beverages
One of the most widely seen and possibly widely enjoyed saturated solutions is a carbonated beverage, like soda. The solution, in this case the water that forms the base of the soda, is bombarded with carbon until no more can be introduced, meaning it gives off the excess carbon as gas bubbles. This reaction is also true of any other carbonated beverages like beer or some kinds of "sparkling" fruit juices.
2. In the Kitchen
Many recipes call for dissolved sugar, salt, or other household ingredients like powdered beverage mixes that are dissolved in water before drinking. Dissolving sugar or salt in water is dependent on the temperature of the water, as salt will readily dissolve in liquid but sugar dissolves better at hotter temperatures. Once enough of the solvent (the sugar or salt in this case) is introduced into the water to saturate it, the crystals will no longer dissolve but will remain visible, often as a sludge at the bottom of the container that holds the solution.
3. The Soil
The Earth's soil is saturated with nitrogen, which is the reason the atmosphere is made up of mostly nitrogen. Once the soil reached its saturation point, the excess nitrogen was given off as gas and remains in the atmosphere.
4. Bodies of Water
Most people understand that the Earth's oceans and some lakes contain salt water, but may not know that there are circumstances that lead to the excess salt building up as a solid. This is true when water levels evaporate and leave behind solid salt crystals; the solid salt shoreline of the Dead Sea is an example of this excess solvent in a saturated solution.