Difference between Dilute and Concentrated Solution

Key Difference: A dilute solution contains less solute that a concentrated solution, which basically means that a dilute solution has less mixed in it, whereas a concentrated solution has more mixed in it.

A solution is a type of mixture in which one or more things are added. The thing added is known as solute, whereas the thing that they are added into is called the solvent. One of the key characteristics of a solution is that it is a homogenous mixture, which means that the two or more ingredients in a solution cannot be seen by the naked eye; instead they should all be seen as one. Similarly, the ingredients cannot be separated easily.

Let’s compare examples. Imagine mixing a spoon of sand in a glass of water. While the sand will get mixed in the water, it will not dissolve. The grains of sand will still be visible to the naked eye as they float, swirl, or settle in the glass of water. The sand can also be easily removed by filtering the water. Hence, while this is a type of mixture, it cannot be called a homogenous mixture or a solution.

Now, imaging the same scenario but with a spoon full of salt and a glass of water. When the salt is mixed into the glass of water, it dissolves completely, which means that the individual grains of salt cannot be seen in the water. Also, once mixed, there is no easy or mechanical way that the salt can be separated from the water. The only way to separate the salt is via distillation. Hence, this is a solution.

While most people think liquids when they think of solutions, the truth is that solutions can be solid, liquid, or gaseous. Steel is one example of a solid solution, where carbon atoms are dissolved in iron atoms. Air, on the other hand, is a popular gaseous solution, where oxygen and other gases are dissolved in nitrogen.

There are many ways to describe a solution; two of the ways are by the use of the terms dilute solution and concentrated solution. These terms refer specifically to the strength or concentration of the solution. Another way to say that is these terms refer to the proportion of solute to solvent, which basically means that a dilute solution contains less solute that a concentrated solution. For example, a pinch of salt in a glass of water will be a dilute solution, as there is barely any salt in the water, whereas mixing 10 spoons of salt in a glass of water will lead to a concentrated solution, as there is way too much salt in the water. This is practically the only difference between a dilute and concentrated solution.

A dilute solution can be turned to a concentrated solution by adding more solvent, while a concentrated solution can be diluted by adding more solvent.

Comparison between Dilute and Concentrated Solution:

 

Dilute Solution

Concentrated Solution

Type of

Solution

Solution

Description

A solution that has less solute dissolved in the solvent

A solution that has more solute dissolved in the solvent

Concentration

Less Concentrated

More Concentrated

Solute

Less Solute

More Solute

Reference: Wikipedia, TutorVista, Reference
Image Courtesy: pathwayz.org, boundless.com

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