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Questions tagged [solvents]

A liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature.

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51
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2answers
4k views

How does chloroform degrade nitrile gloves?

Many of us have experienced the failure of nitrile gloves when exposed to chloroform. What's going on at a mechanistic level when this occurs? I would guess that the chloroform dissolves some of the ...
38
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3answers
4k views

Why is fresh ice sticky?

Fresh ice cubes are almost instantly sticky and easily cling on to fabric and other similarly rough surfaces. A few minutes later, however, the effect almost completely disappears. What is the cause ...
28
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5answers
13k views

Why is water “the universal” solvent?

This is an old question that our textbook tried to answer but worsened the situation. Many things are soluble in water. So many, that studying solutions will always require studying aqueous ones. It ...
27
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2answers
87k views

How do non-polar substances dissolve in non-polar solvents?

The case of polar solvents is clear to me - we get an attraction between opposite charges. However, how do non-polar substances dissolve in non-polar solvents? How could it be explained on a molecular ...
26
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4answers
8k views

How are solvents chosen in organic reactions?

Just reading through organic chemistry book (Modern Projects in Organic Chemistry by Mohrig, et al.), and it seems like the choice of solvent is usually arbitrary. One of the experiments designed ...
26
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1answer
6k views

Are there any general rules for choosing solvents for recrystallization?

Re-crystallization is a nice way of purifying a product, but choosing a suitable solvent, if you can't rely on the literature, seems like a lot of trial-and-error. Are there any general rules on ...
22
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4answers
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A drop of water in a tin of sugar: Which one's the solvent, the sugar or the water?

The other day, when we were dealing with the chapter Solutions, our teacher asked us this: If I add a drop of water, to a tin full of sugar (without mixing it in), what's the solvent here? The ...
21
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1answer
1k views

Is it possible for a compound to be soluble in a mixture of solvents but not the individual solvents?

Some weeks ago one of my friend needed to use turpentine. As a good but ignorant chemist on that point I did some research about it. I found (at the beginning) in the French wikipedia page of ...
19
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2answers
177k views

Will alcohol or soap damage plastic or rubber?

I have read conflicting advice on various sites about the appropriate methods for cleaning plastic and rubber items and would like to ask people who actually know what's going on what they would ...
18
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1answer
1k views

What dictates the lifetime of a solvated electron in a given solvent?

Solvated electrons have a long lifetime in ammonia solutions, but their counterparts in water (called hydrated electrons) have a much smaller lifetime, of the order of microseconds in very pure water. ...
16
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1answer
368 views

Why do some solvents bubble more than others when boiling?

This question about boiling milk reminded me of my everyday lab work at the rotavap: Some solvents and solutes are feared for the intense bubbling they create while the solution is boiling — be it at ...
15
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1answer
1k views

How does WD-40 remove rust?

One of the often-touted uses of WD-40 is that it "dissolves rust". The official website states that WD-40 "breaks down the bonds between metal and rust". I can't understand how this would work, since ...
13
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1answer
355 views

How to treat pressure in computational chemistry?

I have a reaction where a gas at high pressure and a solution with all kinds of species is involved. How do I take pressure correctly into account to get reasonable values for $G$? Do I calculate ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Polypropylene 55 gallon drum

Can a polypropylene 55 gallon drum previously filled with chemicals used in the chrome plating process (possibly Nickel Sulfate) ever really be "cleaned out" for re-use? Can polypropylene ever absorb ...
12
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2answers
13k views

Why are alcohols with longer chains less polar?

In my self-study, I recently came across the following question: "Choose the solute of each pair that would be more soluble in hexane ($\ce{C6H14}$). Explain your answer. (a) $\ce{CH3(CH2)10OH}$ or $...
12
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2answers
1k views

How do I predict the solubility of a compound in a mixture of water and an organic co-solvent?

I'm trying to predict the solubility of long alcohols (e.g. 1-octanol, 1-decanol or 1-dodecanol) in a mixture of water and an organic co-solvent such as DMSO, acetonitrile or ethyl acetate. For ...
11
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2answers
23k views

What type(s) of gloves are effective against DCM and acetone?

I know that standard latex and nitrile gloves don't stop common organic solvents such as DCM and acetone. However, I was reading a Reddit thread and there were comments that if you are coming into ...
11
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1answer
761 views

Why do biphasic systems of fluorous and organic solvents form?

It's possible to select a perfluorinated hydrocarbon that is immiscible in another organic solvent, forming a distinct phase boundary. Such systems may become miscible at elevated temperature which is ...
11
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1answer
3k views

exchanging H2O in buffer for D2O - pH vs pD?

I have TBS pH 7.4 buffer that I am exchanging all the water out for $\ce{D2O}$. How do I find out what the pD is after all the water is gone? I understand that pH meters don't work for deuterium, and ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Why do NMR samples require a solvent?

I am running a proton NMR on a liquid organic product. I understand that we wouldn't want to use anything that contains hydrogen atoms as a solvent, but I'm not sure why we need a solvent at all.
10
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1answer
4k views

Why does water favour nucleophilic substitution over elimination?

The two broad ways a halogen can leave a haloalkane are nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions. I was told that elimination reactions (that form a double bond as a $H^+$ is also removed) ...
10
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2answers
591 views

Alkylation of 1-naphthol in trifluoroethanol versus in DMSO

I am supposed to work out which product is formed in which solvent when naphthalen-1-olate is treated with benzyl iodide. DMSO is a polar aprotic solvent, as it does not possess an acidic hydrogen. ...
9
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3answers
7k views

Why do we use ethanol in SN2 reaction?

Solomons and Fryhle has an example in which they have showed a very simple substitution reaction. The question was to synthesize methyl iodide. What they have done is taken methyl chloride and ...
9
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1answer
2k views

How could alcohol be made into a powder?

In the news recently is 'Palcohol', powdered alcohol, that you add to water or existing liquids to make it alcohol. Presumably this would dissolve and break apart into alcohol and {some other compound}...
9
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1answer
278 views

How to accurately abbreviate solvents?

IUPAC Red Book in section IR-4.4.4 Ligand abbreviations [1, p. 63] states the following: N.B. Abbreviations for solvents that behave as ligands should also be in lower case letters [e.g. dmso for ...
9
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1answer
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Mixing solvents, or how does paint thinner work?

I would like to understand how a mixture of solvents works together. For example, there are two solvents combined, and each one alone can dissolve some material, but one acts faster. How do they ...
9
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0answers
86 views

Which potentials are suitable for molecular dynamics simulation of simple explicit solvents?

Which potentials (force fields) are suitable for adequately simulating (mixtures of) explicit solvents? Interesting rheological properties include viscosity, surface tension, heat capacity.
8
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2answers
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Why do soft drinks fizz?

I know it has something to do with carbon dioxide, but what exactly happens and causes the characteristic sound we hear (especially after we shake the bottle)? How do we manage to dissolve a non-polar ...
8
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1answer
677 views

Why isn't a polar protic solvent used in the Finkelstein reaction?

Usually, in a nucleophilic substitution reaction, a stronger nucleophile replaces a weaker nucleophile. In any polar protic solvent, the order of nucleophilicity is $\ce{F-}<\ce{Cl-}<\ce{Br-}&...
8
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3answers
172 views

What is the proof of complete ionic dissociation in water?

Is there any way to prove that ionic compounds, for instance $\ce{NaCl}$, completely dissociate into singular $\ce{Na+}$ and $\ce{Cl-}$ ions within water by hard experimental evidence? Besides ...
8
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2answers
800 views

How hazardous are peroxide-able ethers if stored properly?

This question is directed towards laboratory scientists and technicians who actually deal with ethers that can develop peroxides upon concentration (e.g. diethyl ether, THF, dioxane). I am already ...
8
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2answers
794 views

How can we tell the particle size of solutes in solutions?

This is a general question in regard to solutes dissolving into solvents. I am interested in the reality of the particle size of the solute during dissolution. For example, take $\ce{NaCl}$ and ...
8
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1answer
9k views

What organic solvents are suitable to use with potassium permanganate?

I'm attempting to oxidize a substance with potassium permanganate and I was wondering what organic solvents I have at my disposal. The compound is soluble in chloroform and ethanol, but obviously ...
8
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0answers
205 views

Cobalt Chloride in various solvent/water mixtures - tested

In a recent post the solvatochromic behaviour of cobalt chloride in acetone was discussed. There were some ideas how the acetone might influence the ratio between the blue $\ce{[CoCl4]^2-}$ and the ...
7
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2answers
9k views

Why does 9-fluorenone dissolve in hexane?

I know like dissolves like, but I am still unclear. 9-fluorenone has a polar $\ce{C—O}$ bond. Is it because 9-fluorenone can only form London forces with other 9-fluorenone molecules and hexane can ...
7
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1answer
3k views

How does the solvent determine whether mono- or tribromination of phenol occurs?

In phenol, the $-\ce{OH}$ group activates the benzene ring towards electrophilic substitution. But why is it that the electrophilic bromination of phenol gives trisubstitution (forming 2,4,6-...
7
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3answers
727 views

Can Liquid CO₂ dissolve plastic

I know that subcritical and supercritical $\ce{CO2}$ are excellent solvents. I've seen some examples of plastics being damaged by the $\ce{CO2}$ being impregnated into the plastic at very high ...
7
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1answer
133 views

Are there any significant industrial processes that use liquid ammonia as a solvent?

There are some interesting laboratory reactions that use liquid ammonia as a solvent (for example, the Birch Reduction where an alkali metal is dissolved in liquid ammonia). There have also been some ...
7
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4answers
14k views

How to dissolve PLA (polylactic acid)?

I'm a maker and I've been interested in 3d printing for years. I have found a technique for dissolve the PLA supports in a model printed in 3D in HIPS I have printed the model in HIPS and the ...
6
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4answers
17k views

What is the difference between melting and dissolving?

What is the difference between melting and dissolving? I am looking some general features. The answer should be adaptable to the melting/dissolving of ice cube (water) in a class of pure alcohol (...
6
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2answers
3k views

Role of Alcohols(EtOH,MeOH) in nitro reduction used for Metal(Sn,Fe)

I'm trying to reduce an aryl nitro group. I understand that these reactions are radical reactions by the metal, but I don't understand why alcohols are used as the solvent. Are they used as a source ...
6
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1answer
14k views

Electrical conductivity of organic solvents

Do organic solvents such as pure ethanol and pure methanol conduct electricity? why is this so? I have done some research and have not been able to find anything conclusive. I would think it would ...
6
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1answer
20k views

Salt concentration and electrical permittivity of water

We know that the electric flux density $D$ can be related to electric field intensity $E$ as $D=\epsilon(\omega) E$ $\epsilon(\omega) = \epsilon_0 \epsilon_r(\omega) $ where $\epsilon_0$ is the ...
6
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2answers
95 views

Is there a quantitative test/analysis technique that can determine if some chloroform has degraded into phosgene?

Before I go to use any chemical that I've had in storage for a while, I try to check if it's degraded into something else (e.g.: checking the $\ce{H2O}$ content of $\ce{H2O2}$, checking for $\ce{H2O2}$...
6
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1answer
106 views

Name for analog of salt hydrate with non-water solvents?

Salts can bind with some water to form hydrates. For example, we can call $\ce{CoCl_2\cdot 6H_2O}$ cobalt chloride hexahydrate. There is no reason that water should be the only solvent that can bind ...
6
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1answer
3k views

What is the exact definition of Salinity?

I am a bit unclear on the definition of salinity. I have always thought of it as simply total dissolved ions. Wikipedia seems to agree "saltiness or dissolved salt content" but many other sources ...
6
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0answers
140 views

Dissolving ability of octane vs nonane on neoprene

I have been working with straight chain octane and nonane. The neoprene seals in some parts of the apparatus are allegedly far more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of octane than nonane - why? [...
5
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1answer
1k views

How to prevent dripping when using a Pasteur pipette with solvents like diethyl ether?

I'm trying to use a Pasteur pipette for pipetting diethyl ether and regardless of the angle I hold the pipette at, the diethyl ether will automatically start dispensing itself (I am unsure of what ...
5
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2answers
8k views

Use of water in IR spectroscopy

I am familiar with the process of IR spectroscopy and the preparation of IR samples. However, I am curious as to why you cannot use hygroscopic or protic solvents for IR spectroscopy. Is it just ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Replacement for cyclohexane

I am attempting to isolate pure iodine from kelp using the method described here but I do not have any way of possibly obtaining cyclohexane. I was wondering if any easier to obtain solvents would ...