Can there be more than one solute or solvent in a solution. Why? Why not? The largest component in the solution is called a solute and smallest a solvent. How is this possible when solutions contain more than 2 substances?

  • $\begingroup$ You can have as many solutes as it gets. Also there can be more of them in total then the amount of solvent present, so could you care less about semantics? $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/23519/… $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ Well no, I have an exam on this. Solutes are defined as the smallest component in the solution, so if there are multiple solutes, what are they called? $\endgroup$
    – Person
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


Here is the solution defined by IUPAC:

  • A liquid or solid phase containing more than one substance, when for convenience one (or more) substance, which is called the solvent, is treated differently from the other substances, which are called solutes. When, as is often but not necessarily the case, the sum of the mole fractions of solutes is small compared with unity, the solution is called a dilute solution. A superscript attached to the ∞ symbol for a property of a solution denotes the property in the limit of infinite dilution.

When the solution contains more than 3 components, one or more will be solvent(such as you solute NaOH in water and ethanol).

For example, You can regard glass as solution, because it contains SiO2, Na2CO3, and many other components.

I think which is solvent is choose by human, usually the most part of the "solution" will be regard as solvent.


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