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25 votes
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A drop of water in a tin of sugar: Which one's the solvent, the sugar or the water?

You could imagine stirring the sugar enough for the water molecules to be uniformly distributed throughout - it would then be homogeneous. However, even then, to refer to the mixture as a solution ...
ChrisA's user avatar
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20 votes
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Can a solvent be a solid?

When most people think of the term solvent, a liquid medium comes to mind; however, in the technical sense of the definition, this does not have to be the case. Here is the definition of a solution ...
Eli Jones's user avatar
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19 votes
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How are solvents chosen in organic reactions?

There is no list per se, but there is certainly a process to determine appropriate solvents for a given reaction. For the specific reaction you mention, here are some criteria you would consider to ...
Jon R's user avatar
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17 votes

A drop of water in a tin of sugar: Which one's the solvent, the sugar or the water?

Both answers are right. In the IUPAC Gold Book it states A liquid or solid phase containing more than one substance, when for convenience one (or more) substance, which is called the solvent, is ...
Clangorous Chimera's user avatar
16 votes
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Why isn't a polar protic solvent used in the Finkelstein reaction?

The key point is driving the equilibrium where you want it. You could do it by relative reaction rates. The Finkelstein reaction, however, uses a better method: precipitation of one of the products. ...
Jan's user avatar
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16 votes
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Is it possible for a compound to be soluble in a mixture of solvents but not the individual solvents?

The short answer is: yes, this is possible. Unfortunately, solubility is a fairly complex phenomenon to explain simply. Let's start with some examples where solubility is higher in a binary mixture ...
levineds's user avatar
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15 votes

How are solvents chosen in organic reactions?

I did organic chemistry in the lab for 9 years, and never once was there such a list. There are general rules for protic vs. aprotic and polar vs. non-polar, but a lot of times, when a reaction is ...
Zhe's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why do NMR samples require a solvent?

There is a minimal volume you need to fill into the NMR tube to be able to get a good shim, this is around 500 microliters with regular 5mm tubes. Not using a solvent would require a lot more of your ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
12 votes

How are solvents chosen in organic reactions?

If you consider YANR (your average name reaction), the scientists who published said YANR will typically have done a set of screenings, including a ‘solvent screen’. That means, they will have run ...
Jan's user avatar
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10 votes

Why do NMR samples require a solvent?

Just to add some clarity to some already acceptable answers by others.... For running solution (liquid) state NMR, a solvent is not necessary. There are a number of applications where dilution with a ...
long's user avatar
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9 votes
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For what reasons, is isopropyl alcohol widely used as a cleaning solvent?

From this Wikipedia article Isopropyl alcohol dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds. It also evaporates quickly, leaves nearly zero oil traces, compared to ethanol, and is relatively non-...
paracetamol's user avatar
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9 votes

Halogenation of Phenol

The reaction of phenol with bromine is known as bromination of phenol. Solvent has great influence on the reaction. In different solvents, different products are obtained. The action of bromine on ...
Uday's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why is chloroform kept in dark coloured bottles?

In the presence of UV light, chloroform can be oxidized by atmospheric oxygen to phosgene ($\ce{COCl2}$), a toxic gas. The dark colored glass blocks UV light so that phosgene is not produced.
f'''s user avatar
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8 votes
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How to prevent dripping when using a Pasteur pipette with solvents like diethyl ether?

Usually I avoid pipetting diethyl ether because it can be a bit annoying, but recently I've realized there is a very simple technique which markedly increases ease of transfer (though admittedly I've ...
Nicolau Saker Neto's user avatar
8 votes

A drop of water in a tin of sugar: Which one's the solvent, the sugar or the water?

The question is flawed since we do not know whether the resulting mixture consists of a single phase or not (I guess that there are two phases). Moreover, the definition solute + solvent = ...
aventurin's user avatar
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8 votes
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Distillation of diethyl ether and tetrahydrofuran

Sodium and potassium are both drying agents. Being alkali metals they react (often vigorously) with water. Sodium wire is often used in diethyl ether stills, whilst potassium is used in ...
NotEvans.'s user avatar
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8 votes
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How does WD-40 remove rust?

I'd say it works by coming out as a liquid. Then it diffuses through the porous rust layer or travels along the steel edge and expands to gas- as the mixture has a highly suppressed vaporisation point ...
user2617804's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why Benzene is a good solvent even while it is not polar

Benzene is a good solvent for many organic compounds, the term good solvent to me does not mean a nice solvent with a good all round profile. To me the perfect solvent would be non toxic, not ...
Nuclear Chemist's user avatar
8 votes

Can I separate paint thinner into acetone and toluene by simply boiling it?

Your logic of separating the acetone from toluene by distillation is reasonable, and would work well for separating many substances, such as propane from water (e.g., at a gas well). However, the ...
DrMoishe Pippik's user avatar
7 votes
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What is an effective fabric-friendly solvent for aluminium chlorohydrate?

Bleach and baking soda are no use for removing deposits of aluminum chlorohydrates. These deposits are made of $\ce{Al(OH)_{𝑥}Cl_{(3−𝑥)}}$ and they are only soluble in somewhat concentrated $\ce{HCl}...
Maurice's user avatar
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7 votes

What is the mechanism for the auto-dissociation of nitrogen tetraoxide

Dinitrogen tetroxide $\ce{N2O4}$ is a colourless liquid composed of planar dimers of nitrogen dioxide $\ce{NO2}$.$^{[1]\ \text{[a]}\ [2]}$ As Martin noted and is to be expected from the structure of $...
Linear Christmas's user avatar
7 votes
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Qualitative Comparisons of Dielectric Constants of Organic Solvents

Yes, but it is much more complicated. The molecule does not have to have a dipole, in which case the (static) dielectric constant (relative permittivity) depends on the molecule's polarisability and ...
porphyrin's user avatar
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7 votes

How does acetone remove pencil marks?

Pencil lead writes on rough surfaces by abrading into tiny particles and getting pushed into surface irregularities. If the surface isn't rough, you would get no visible residue of graphite. A pencil ...
James Gaidis's user avatar
7 votes
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Does a solvent with the following properties exist?

There are many examples which clear the requirements. Here is a non-exhaustive list. I do not claim these data are absolutely accurate - you should cross-check everything if it matters to you. A ...
Nicolau Saker Neto's user avatar
7 votes

Effective pH range in water. What is the definition

In my understanding "the effective pH in water" is nothing else but the Hammett acidity function, which is extension of the classical $\text{pH}$ quantity to non-aqueous solutions. The blue ...
Poutnik's user avatar
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6 votes

Why even the most volatile solvents leave a residue after evaporating?

If the surface material is clean and neither soluble nor reactant in any way with the solvent, then it is probably a solvent purity issue. If you have a good micro-balance, you could pour a known ...
airhuff's user avatar
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6 votes
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Does water freely absorb atmospheric CO2?

Er, the quick, simple technical answer is "Yes, water will absorb $\ce{CO2}$". However, there is a "but" coming. Actually, two "buts". First, plain water will not be able to absorb much $\ce{CO2}$. ...
PGnome's user avatar
  • 198
6 votes

How to extract thymol from oregano leaves?

This sounds like a nice project and I'm tempted to answer in too much detail, but since this is homework […]. Here are some hints: Find information about thymol. This is crucial! What is the ...
Klaus-Dieter Warzecha's user avatar
6 votes
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Effect of solvent in the reaction of alkyl halide with nitrite ion

Let me first clear out the difference between reaction of alkyl halide with $\ce{AgNO2}$ and $\ce{NaNO2/KNO2}$ The synthesis of nitro compounds from reaction of alkyl halides with alkali metal ...
CCR's user avatar
  • 1,649
6 votes
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Bleach turned towel bright pink before fading to white

Although Dr. Laundry says it only happens to the incoming brighteners within a detergent and not to those fixed to the fabric, I think that your new towels should have enough brighteners - deposited ...
Alchimista's user avatar
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