A solvent is a substance that dissolves a solute, resulting in a solution. A solute is the substance that is dissolved in the solvent. In other words, a solvent is the “dissolving agent” while a solute is the material that is dissolved. Solvents can be either liquid or gas, while solutes are usually solid or liquid. Solvents are usually transparent, while solutes are usually colored. Common solvents include water, alcohol, and oil, while common solutes include sugar, salt, and other substances.
When a solvent and solute are mixed, the solvent molecules surround and attach themselves to the solute molecules, resulting in a solution. The solute particles are evenly distributed throughout the solvent. The amount of solute dissolved in a solvent is referred to as the “concentration” of the solution. Different solvents can dissolve different amounts of solutes, depending on the chemical properties of the solvent and solute.