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Solvents: Meaning, Classification, Applications and More

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

A solvent is a chemical substance that is capable of dissolving another substance (solute) without causing any chemical change. The word ‘solvent’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘solvo’, which means to untie or loosen. Solvents form an indispensable part of chemical reactions that take place. It is hard to imagine any mechanically important chemical reaction taking place without the use of solvents. For example, amidst the recent COVID-19 pandemic that struck the entire world, a huge demand for hand sanitizers was witnessed. That led to huge pressure on denatured ethanol suppliers as well as isopropyl alcohol suppliers. While alcohol forms the core component of these hand sanitizers, water is being used as a solvent in them.

Solute + Solvent = Solution

Generally, a solvent is a liquid. However, in some cases, it may also be a solid, gas, or supercritical fluid.

Classification of organic solvents

Based on the chemical structure, organic solvents are classified into the following types:

1. Halogenated solvents

  • Contain halogenic atoms such as chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), fluorine (F).

  • Examples: Carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, ethylene dibromide, etc.

2. Hydrocarbon solvents

  • Made of only carbon and hydrogen atoms.

  • They are further classified as:

  • Aliphatic solvents: They have a straight chain structure. E.g. Hexane, gasoline, etc.

  • Aromatic solvents: They have a benzene ring structure. E.g. Toluene, benzene, etc.

3. Oxygenated solvents

  • Molecules contain oxygen.

  • These include alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, ethers, esters.

Applications of solvents

From an ethanol supplier in Gujarat to an isopropyl alcohol supplier in any other Indian city, all leading solvent suppliers are seeing tremendous demand from different industries. The reason behind this is that organic solvents are used in diverse industry verticals.

  • Agrochemicals

  • Pharmaceuticals and drugs

  • Tanning

  • Wax and adhesives

  • Inks

  • Paintings and coatings

  • Healthcare

  • Automotive

  • Personal care

  • Plastics

  • And many others.

Commonly used solvents:

1. Denatured Ethanol

This ethyl alcohol can be obtained from any leading ethanol supplier. It is adulterated with a toxic denaturant making it unfit for human consumption. It is a colourless clear liquid having a distinct odour.


  • Cleansing agent

  • Fuel additive

  • Removal of paints and ink stains

  • Sterilization of medical instruments

2. Ethyl acetate

This solvent procured from top ethyl acetate suppliers in Gujarat is a colourless liquid having a fruity smell. Due to its use in different industries, it is always in great demand from ethyl acetate suppliers.


  • Artificial flavours

  • Inks and adhesives

  • Paints and varnishes

  • Chromatography

3. Isopropyl alcohol

This solvent can be obtained from isopropyl suppliers in Gujarat is a clean, colourless liquid, which is completely miscible in water. It is also known as rubbing alcohol.


  • Antiseptics

  • Aftershave lotions

  • Disinfectants

  • Cleaning agents

4. Toluene

This aromatic hydrocarbon offered by the top toluene suppliers has a benzene ring structure. It is a colourless fluid and insoluble in water.


  • Paints and thinners

  • Nail polish removers

  • Adhesives

  • Benzene production

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