Does Oil Dissolve In Water? (ANSWERED)

No, oil doesn’t dissolve in water.

In fact, it creates a separate layer on top of the liquid.

Read ahead to learn more about this and why it occurs.

Does Oil Dissolve In Water? (EXPLAINED)

The Processes of Dissolution And Solubility

A pair of scientific occurrences are connected to the reason why oil doesn’t dissolve in water.

They’re named dissolution and solubility. 

To begin, there are three components connected to these processes.

The solute is the compound to be dissolved in the solvent, which is the liquid. In this example, the solute is soil and the solvent is water. 

The result of dissolving the solute in the solvent is called the solution.

This takes place even if the compounds don’t combine, which is the case with oil and water. 

Let’s break down the processes of solubility and dissolution to get a comprehensive understanding.

How solubility works

Solubility is the calculation that determines the volume of solute that dissolves in a solvent.

It’s controlled by the solute’s components as well as the level of equilibrium between the two.

If there’s proper solubility, then like dissolves like.

In scientific terms: dissolution = of precipitation.

The amount of solubility is measured in molar concentration.

This is the proportion of the constituent (part of the whole) divided by the mixture’s volume.

With solubility, the measurement is molars per kilogram or mol/kg.

Completely soluble components are known to be miscible.

In other words, they form a single phase.

Conversely, when they can’t be mixed or there’s a partial result, then it’s deemed insoluble.

How dissolution works

Dissolution is the process where solubility takes place.

Thus, the solute and solvent form into a solution with different properties from the original components.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t always take place immediately.

In some cases, several hours or days pass to complete the dissolution process.

This happens due to several factors.

For instance, the length of dissolution could be the result of a slower human mixing instead of rapid blending via mechanical means.

It’s also related to the solvent and solute used, the weight of the dissolved material, and internal & external temperatures. 

Overall, no matter how long it takes, dissolution is thermodynamic.

The heat and work that takes place when the solute and solvent are combined become kinetic.

This causes chemical reactions such as the separation and recombination of atoms and molecules.

Like solubility, dissolution is still measured in molar concentration.

However, instead of being based on kilograms, it’s recorded in molars per second or mol/s.

The Solubility Of Oil

For the most part, oil in any form is soluble.

Hence, the reason it’s normally used as a lubricant.

Since it’s mostly comprised of hydrocarbons, which is a composition of carbon and hydrogen atoms, it’s harder to break down oil.

On top of this, oil is a nonpolar compound.

The attractive forces in play between the particles in this solution don’t have enough charge to be dispersed.

To put it another way, the molecules in oil are more attracted to each other than to other solvents.

It takes a combination of chemicals called dispersants to cause the oil molecules to move away from each other. 

The Dissolution Of Oil In Water

Due to the fact the hydrocarbons in oil are nonpolar, the solute is not dissolved in water.

Furthermore, oil is hydrophobic, which means it fears the liquid.

So, instead of the solute’s atoms being attracted by the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, they’re repelled and cling more to each other. 

When added to water, oil doesn’t sit in clumps inside the liquid.

Rather, because it’s denser and wants to avoid any contact, it forms a separate layer on its surface.

No matter how much it is stirred, the insolubility remains constant.

The only possible way to cause the oil’s hydrocarbons to separate would be to add a chemical solvent. 

What You Have Learned

Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve discussed.

  • A solute is a compound added to a solvent to create a solution.
  • Solubility is the process where the solute dissolves in the solvent. This is measured in molar concentration per kilogram or mol/kg
  • Dissolution takes place when the solute and solvent become a new solution. This is measured in molars per second or mol/s.
  • Oil is comprised of hydrophobic carbon and hydrogen atoms that are nonpolar. This means they fear the water and are more attracted to themselves.
  • When added to water, oil molecules don’t cling to the other’s hydrogen and oxygen atoms. As a result of this, along with the solute’s heavier density, oil floats on top of the water.

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