Many materials we encounter every day are mixtures. In a mixture, more than one
substance is found together in a system. Mixtures can have different characteristics. For
example, a mixture that is uniform throughout is called a homogeneous mixture or
solution. Any part of that system would have the same components in the same
proportion throughout the entire sample. An example of a homogeneous mixture is sweet
tea. The most familiar homogeneous mixture is a liquid solution. In this case, a solute (a
liquid or solid) is completely mixed in a solvent (a liquid). Another characteristic of a
solution is that even upon standing the solute will not separate from the solvent.
Liquids dissolved in liquids may also form homogeneous mixtures. Some liquids have a
limited solubility, whereas some liquids can mix in all proportions. The word miscible is
used when describing two liquids that mix with one another.
Solubility depends on several factors. An important generalization is that “like dissolves
like.” This means the more similar the solute is to the polarity of the solvent, the more
likely the two will form a homogeneous mixture, or solution. Polar solvents will dissolve
other polar compounds, and nonpolar solvents will dissolve nonpolar solutes. Ionic
substances tend to dissolve more readily in polar solvents. Another factor in solubility is
the temperature. In general, solids and liquids will have a higher solubility when the
temperature is increased. Therefore, temperature is given when referring to the solubility
Prepare your notebook. When the lab is complete your lab notebook should include the
1. Include Solubility Lab in the Table of Contents
2. Write the title of the lab on the top of the page.
3. Date/number the page (if you work on it over a few days, date each time you are
working). Sign in your lab notebook each time you stop working.
4. Record the Purpose of Experiment in your own words. Remember the purpose is the
overall question that will be answered by collecting the data and doing any
5. Indicate PPE (personal protection equipment) required while performing the lab:
goggles, gloves, lab apron, and closed-toed shoes.
6. Prepare your notebook to record observations for each reaction by writing tables.
7. Complete the post-lab question.
In this lab you will mix several solids and liquids to determine how the nature of the solute
and the solvent affects solubility. Keep in mind the generalization that “like dissolves like.”
Before you begin:
You will be using table salt, sugar, and oil from your household. It is important not to
contaminate these household products. To make sure the lab kit materials do not come in
contact with the household supplies pour the salt, sugar and oil out of the container into
their own weigh boats. Use the chemicals from the weighing boat. Do NOT pour any
material back into the original containers. Do NOT place a pipette directly into the original
bottle. This will avoid contamination of your supplies.
1 teaspoon table salt in a weighing boat
1 teaspoon sugar in a weighing boat
1 teaspoon oil (olive, vegetable, etc.) in a weighing boat
1 teaspoon water
2 pipettes from lab kit (one for water and one for oil)
4 weighing boats from lab kit
5 test tubes from lab kit
Goggles should be worn while performing this experiment. As standard procedure, always
wash your hands and your work space when you are finished with the lab.
Directions – Study of the Solubility of Solids
Words to use when describing how the components of a mixture mix.
soluble – solid mixes completely in the liquid
insoluble – solid does not mix in the liquid
miscible – two liquids mix completely
immiscible – two liquids do not mix
1. Place a small amount of salt (1-2 pinches) into a test tube. Fill a pipette with water
and add it to the salt. Carefully swirl to mix completely. Did the salt dissolve?
Record your observations in the data table 1. Pour the salt and water down the sink.
Rinse and dry the test tube.
2. Place a small amount of sugar (1-2 pinches) into a test tube. Fill a pipette with
water and add it to the sugar. Carefully swirl to mix completely. Did the sugar
dissolve? Record your observations in the data table 1. Pour the sugar and water
down the sink. Rinse and dry the test tube.
3. Place a small amount of salt (1-2 pinches) into a test tube. Fill a pipette with oil and
add it to the salt. Carefully swirl to mix completely. Did the salt dissolve? Record
your observations in the data table 1. Pour the salt and oil down the sink or place it
in the trash. Rinse and dry the test tube.
4. Place a small amount of sugar into a test tube. Fill a pipette with oil and add it to the
sugar. Carefully swirl to mix completely. Did the sugar dissolve? Pour the sugar
and oil down the sink or place it in the trash. Record your observations in data table
1. Rinse and dry the test tube.
5. Place a pipette full of water into a test tube. Fill a pipette with oil and add it to the
water. Carefully swirl to mix completely. Did the two liquids mix? Did the liquids
form layers? Which liquid is the top layer? Record your observations in the data
table 2. Pour the oil and water down the sink or place it in the trash. Rinse and dry
the test tube.
6. Remember to return all dry test tubes to your kit. Throw any remaining salt, sugar,
and oil in the trash. Pipets can be thrown away.
Table 1: Solubility of Solids in Liquid Solvents
Solutes Water Oil
Table 2: Miscibility of Liquids in Liquids
Mixture Observations Miscibility
Water + Oil
Be sure to give complete answers.
1. Classify the salt, sugar, water, and oil as nonpolar, polar, or ionic. Use your
observations to discuss the generalization of “like dissolves like?” Be specific.
2. Using “like dissolves like” explain why sugar, C6H12O6, dissolves in water but would
not dissolve in hexane, C6H12.
3. Did oil and water mix? How could you tell which liquid has a greater density?
Explain your reasoning.