Solvents Resource Center

Solvents Resource Center

Common Uses of Solvents

Solvents are liquid, gas, or solid chemicals that dissolve, extract, or suspend other substances. The most common and universal solvent is water, which dissolves more substances than any other.

Solvents are often categorized as polar or nonpolar, a factor of the solvent’s structure and charge that determines the types of substances it can dissolve. Polar solvents have a positive and a negative charge at different places in their structures and will dissolve other polar substances. Wateracetone, acetonitrile, dimethylformamide (DMF), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), ethanol, isopropanol, and methanol are examples of polar solvents.

Nonpolar solvents include alkanes (pentanehexane, and heptane) and aromatics (benzene, toluene, and xylene). Other common nonpolar solvents include acetic acidchloroformdiethyl etherethyl acetatemethylene chloride, and pyridine. Nonpolar organic solvents are used as spot removers, paint thinners, nail polish removers, glue solvents, and in perfumes and detergents.

Solvents are used extensively as a medium for chemical reactions and analytical separations and are available in various purity grades and packaging options. They are also essential for manufacturing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, personal care items, textiles, paints, pesticides, and many other products.

Long-term exposure to some solvents can be hazardous to worker health. For example, chloroform and benzene, commonly found in gasoline, are considered carcinogenic. Solvents can also damage the liver, kidneys, nervous system, or brain. Chronic solvent-induced encephalopathy (CSE) is a known condition. Occupational exposure to organic solvents is also associated with alcoholism, cataracts, and the loss of hearing and color vision.

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Safety Data Sheets

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Bulk and Custom Chemicals

We serve our customers “from beaker to bulk” — everything from 25 kg containers to 55 gallon drums to high-volume solvent delivery systems.

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Find products for liquid and gas chromatography, protein purification, and more.

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Honeywell™ CHROMASOLV™ Acetone for HPLC, ≥99.8%

  • For HPLC and organic synthesis
  • High-purity, multipurpose solvents
  • High lot-to-lot consistency

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Thermo Scientific™ Methanol, UHPLC/MS

Featuring a unique signal-to-noise specification, Thermo Scientific Methanol is ideal when solvent quality is linked directly to the sensitivity of the mass spectrometer.

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High Purity Chromasolv™ Solvents

Part of Honeywell Research Chemical’s Exclusive Riedel-de Haën™ Brand Portfolio




Solvents are substances used to dissolve, extract, or suspend other substances to form a solution. Usually liquid, solvents can also exist in the gas or solid form.

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Additional Solvents Resources

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