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Jim Sets Ken Straight on Salt Solutions
November 11, 2011

Jim Sets Ken Straight on Salt Solutions (Nov. 11, 2011)

Subject: salt solutions
Date: Thu, November 3, 2011
To: Ken Adachi

you should educate your self about concentrations of solutions. there is no such thing as a 100 percent solution of salt.

Solute - The substance which dissolves in a solution
Solvent - The substance which dissolves another to form a solution. In a salt and water solution, water is the solvent; salt is the solute.
Solution - A mixture of two or more pure substances. In a solution one pure substance is dissolved in another pure substance homogenously, ie the solution has the same concentration throughout

Preparation of solutions involving a dry solute and a liquid solvent using percentage by mass %(w/w):The formula is: [Mass of solute (g) / mass of solution(g)] x 100

At 20C 100g of H2O is saturated with only 35.9g NaCl. which is 26.4%(w/w)NaCl(aq),nowhere near 100%. Saturated solutions are labeled
"saturated solution". percentage concentration is %w/w,%v/v, or %w/v, never % saturated solution. Hopefully no one follows your instructions then tries to make an isotonic saline solution.


Dear Jim,

My, my, aren't we full of our self.

The article I wrote in 2003 describing how to make a 100% salt water solution is legitimate and accurate, despite your attempt to denigrate its validity. I was describing how to make a saturated solution of salt water and used the terms "saturated" and "saturation" in more than one location in the article.

What you are describing in your derogatory and bombastic e-mail is an expression of percent composition based on MASS, which is merely ONE way that concentration can be expressed in chemistry. However, it is not the ONLY expression of concentration. I can also express percent concentration as VOLUME, MOLE FRACTION, MOLARITY, MOLALITY, and NORMALITY. ALL of them are as valid as MASS concentration and apropos to the chemical properties or parameters under discussion.

In my case, I was explaining a simple procedure to a general audience, who may not have had an education in chemistry, how to make a 100% saturated solution of salt water. I was referring to a solution in which you could no longer dissolve crystals of salt at room temperature -- and nothing more complicated than that. A simple statement describing a simple condition, which is the very definition of a 'saturated' solution.

It's OK if I refer to that as a "100%" saturated solution. It's perfectly legitimate since I wanted to present the idea that the 100% saturated salt water solution could then be diluted down with water to make 50% or 25% or 10% salt water dilutions for special applications. A simple little explanation on making a saturated solution of salt water and you twist it into some sort of major faux pas with life-threatening implications.

Give me a break.

Ken Adachi

(No longer associated with the Chattanooga Engineers Club as president I see. Are you still reachable at 423-267-4257 or by email at Maybe someone is still interested in hiring a graying 69 year old guitar player who knows everything there is to know about chemistry. You never "know." )

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