SAT Subject Test Chemistry




Liquids, Solids, and Phase Changes


To make molecules or ions of another substance go into solution, water molecules must overcome the forces that hold these molecules or ions together. The mechanism of the actual process is complex. To make sugar molecules go into solution, the water molecules cluster around the sugar molecules, pull them off, and disperse, forming the solution.

For an ionic crystal such as salt, the water molecules orient themselves around the ions (which are charged particles) and again must overcome the forces holding the ions together. Since the water molecule is polar, this orientation around the ion is an attraction of the polar ends of the water molecule. For example:

Once surrounded, the ion is insulated to an extent from other ions in solution because of the dipole property of water. The water molecules that surround the ion differ in number for various ions, and the whole group is called a hydrated ion.

In general, as stated in the preceding section, polar substances and ions dissolve in polar solvents and nonpolar substances such as fats dissolve in nonpolar solvents such as gasoline. The process of going into solution is exothermic if energy is released in the process, and endothermic if energy from the water is used up to a greater extent than energy is released in freeing the particle.

When two liquids are mixed and they dissolve in each other, they are said to be completely miscible. If they separate and do not mix, they are said to be immiscible.

Two molten metals may be mixed and allowed to cool. This gives a “solid solution” called an alloy.