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Solubility is the property of a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical substance called solute to dissolve in a solid, liquid, or gaseous solvent. The solubility of a substance fundamentally depends on the physical and chemical properties of the solute and solvent as well as on temperature, pressure and the pH of the solution. The extent of the solubility of a substance in a specific solvent is measured as the saturation concentration, where adding more solute does not increase the concentration of the solution and begins to precipitate the excess amount of solute. The solubility of a substance is an entirely different property from the rate of solution, which is how fast it dissolves.
The extent of solubility ranges widely, from infinitely soluble (without limit) (fully miscible) such as ethanol in water, to poorly soluble, such as silver chloride in water. The term insoluble is often applied to poorly or very poorly soluble compounds. A common threshold to describe something as insoluble is less than 0.1 g per 100 mL of solvent.
Under certain conditions, the equilibrium solubility can be exceeded to give a so-called supersaturated solution, which is metastable. Metastability of crystals can also lead to apparent differences in the amount of a chemical that dissolves depending on its crystalline form or particle size. A supersaturated solution generally crystallises when 'seed' crystals are introduced and rapid equilibration occurs. Phenylsalicylate is one such simple observable substance when fully melted and then cooled below its fusion point.
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