Definition - What does Solvent mean?

A solvent, broken down to the most basic definition, is a substance that dissolves other substances. Solutions are homogeneous mixtures of two or more substances, which are uniformly mixed together. They are made up of a solute, which is a substance being dissolved, while a solvent is a substance in a larger amount into which the solute is dissolved.

Solvents can be in any of the three states: gas, liquid, or solid. However, solvents are mostly present in the liquid state, rather than solid, as it's the liquid form that helps with osmosis in botany.

MaximumYield explains Solvent

Solvents are substances that dissolve solutes. The quantity of a solute that can dissolve in a specific volume of solvent varies with temperature. One of the most common and important solvents that we use in our daily lives is water.

Solvents can be divided into two categories: polar and non-polar. While polar solvents have bonds between atoms with very different electro negativities, and so result in partial charges, non-polar solvents contain bonds between atoms with similar electro negativities, thus lacking partial charges. A solvent's polarity can be measured by measuring the dielectric constant/permittivity, where the greater the dielectric constant, the greater the polarity. Another common way to measure a solvent's polarity is by measuring the dipole moment.

In horticulture, solvents mostly pertain to osmosis. Solvents is an important term because the water solvents travel to the plant cells through the process of osmosis. So, given that solvents are an integral part of osmosis, they become an integral part of botany.

Solvents also are useful in terms of hydroponic gardening and hydroponic nutrient solutions. For example, powdered nutrients are solutes, which must be mixed with/dissolved in water, the solvent, before they can be used.

The quality or ingredients of a solvent can determine the overall effect of the solution once solutes are added. Finally, a solvent's ability to dissolve a solute is said to be described using terms like soluble, or solubility.

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