POLAR SOLVENTS are often used to dissolve polar residues. But what is a polar solvent? A polar solvent is one that has a net separation of charge in the molecular structure caused by differences in the electronegativities of various atoms in the molecule.
Determining Polar vs. Non-Polar
If you’re not a chemist, the simplest way to identify whether a solvent is polar or non-polar is to look up its dielectric constant. The higher the dielectric constant, the more polar the solvent.
Generally, a polar solvent is one with a dielectric constant higher than 15. The dielectric constants of water and hexane are 80 and 1.9, respectively. Hence, water is a polar solvent used for polar soils, like salts, and hexane is a non-polar solvent used for non-polar soils, like oils and greases.
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