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Properties of Solutions

Most of the materials that we encounter in everyday life are mixtures. Many mixtures are homogeneous; that is, their components are uniformly intermingled on a molecular level. Homogeneous mixtures are called solutions. (Sections 1.2 and 4.1) Examples of solutions abound in the world around us. The air we breathe is a solution of several gases. Brass is a solid solution of zinc in copper. The fluids that run through our bodies are solutions, carrying a great variety of essential nutrients, salts, and other materials.

Solutions may be gases, liquids, or solids (Table 13.1). Each of the substances in a solution is called a component of the solution. As we saw in Chapter 4, the solvent is normally the component present in greatest amount. Other components are called solutes. Because liquid solutions are the most common, we will focus our attention on them in this chapter. Our primary goal is to examine the physical properties of solutions, comparing them with the properties of their components. We will be particularly concerned with aqueous solutions of ionic substances because of their central importance in chemistry and in our daily lives.

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