• Polarity A popular aphorism used for predicting solubility is "Like dissolves like" This indicates that a solute will dissolve best in a solvent that has a similar polarity to itself. This is a rather simplistic view, since it ignores many solvent-solute interactions, but it is a useful rule-of-thumb. For example, a very polar (hydrophilic) solute such as urea is highly soluble in highly polar water, less soluble in fairly polar methanol, and practically insoluble in non-polar solvents such as benzene. In contrast, a non-polar or lipophilic solute such as naphthalene is insoluble in water, fairly soluble in methanol, and highly soluble in non-polar benzene. Liquid solubilities also generally follow this rule. Lipophilic plant oils, such as olive oil and palm oil, dissolve in non-polar solvents such as alkanes, but are less soluble in polar liquids such as water. Synthetic chemists often exploit solubilities to separate and purify compounds from reaction mixtures.

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