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When a solid is dissolved into a liquid, or two solids are amalgamated, their mutual volume will contract. For example, a crystal of sugar having a volume of one cubic inch dissolved into 10 cubic inches of water will have less than 11 cubic inches of volume.

Is there any theory that explains exactly the degree of contraction, and can correctly predict the contraction for any given solute and solvent?

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    $\begingroup$ Note that this is, of course, not always true, particularly for alloys where the new phase may have a different crystal structure. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jan 31 '16 at 1:57

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