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A solvent (from the Latin solvere, "loosen") is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature. Common uses for organic solvents are in dry cleaning (e.g. tetrachloroethylene), as a paint thinner (e.g. toluene, turpentine), as nail polish removers and glue solvents (acetone, methyl acetate, ethyl acetate), in spot removers (e.g. hexane, petrol ether), in detergents (citrus terpenes), in perfumes (ethanol), and in chemical synthesis. The use of inorganic solvents (other than water) is typically limited to research chemistry and some technological processes.

In 2005, the worldwide market for solvents had a total volume of around 17.9 million tons, which led to a turnover of about 8 billion Euro.[citation needed]


Solutions and solvation

When one substance is dissolved into another, a solution is formed.[1] This is opposed to a mixture where one compound is added to another and no chemical bond is formed;[citation needed] a way to think of mixtures and solutions is to compare a cup of water with sand mixed in versus a soda where all of the ingredients are uniform to create a new substance. No residue is left in the bottom. The mixing is referred to as miscibility, whereas the ability to dissolve one compound into another is known as solubility. However, in addition to mixing, both substances in the solution can interact with each other in specific ways. Solvation describes these interactions. When something is dissolved, molecules of the solvent arrange themselves around molecules of the solute. Heat is involved and entropy is increased making the solution more thermodynamically stable than the solute alone. This arrangement is mediated by the respective chemical properties of the solvent and solute, such as hydrogen bonding, dipole moment and polarizability.[2]

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