Introduction to Solution Stoichiometry
 Whenever possible, reactions are carried out with all of the reactants in the same fluid phase. This means that it is preferrable to have liquids reacting with liquids, or gases reacting with gases. This is because no matter what type of particle we talk about, in order for them to react they must collide with each other.  Solids have little or no movement and therefore offer few opportunities for collision.  Liquids and gases are both fluids and offer much more opportunity for frequent collision.  Liquids are used in the lab because they are fairly easy to create and use.  Gases are used but specialized gas handing equipment is required. A solution is a uniform mixture of particles of atomic, ioncic, or molecular size.  A minimum of two substances are present.  One is called the solvent and all the others are called the solutes.  The solvnet is the fluid medium in which all of the solutes are dissolved.  A solvent can be a solid, liquid or a gas but the most common solvent is water and therefore we deal almost exclusively with aqueous solutions.   Solutes are any substance dissolved in the solvent. A dilute solution is one in which the ratio of solute to solvent is very small, for example, a few crystals of sugar in a glass of water.  In a concentrated solution the ratio of solute to solvent is large.  Maple syrup is a concnetrated solution of sugar in water.  A saturated solution is one in which no more solute can be dissolved at a particular temperature.  An unsaturated solution is one in which the ratio of solute to solvent is lower than that of the corresponding saturated solution.  If more solute is added to an unsaturated solution, at least some of it should dissolve.   A supersaturated solution is an unstable system in which the ratio of dissolved solute to solvent is higher than that of a saturated solution.  A supersaturated solution can be made by gently cooling a hot saturated solution.  At a lower temperature the dissolved solute can be made to precipitate out when a seed crystal is added.  The process is called precipitation and the substance that forms is the precipitate. The amount of solute needed to make a saturated solution in a given quantity of solvent at a specific tempeature is called the solubility of the solution.