A solvent (from the Latin solvō, "I loosen, untie, I solve") is a substance that dissolves a solute (a chemically different liquid, solid or gas), resulting in a solution. A solvent is usually a liquid but can also be a solid or a gas. The quantity of solute that can dissolve in a specific volume of solvent varies with temperature. Common uses for organic solvents are in dry cleaning (e.g., tetrachloroethylene), as paint thinners (e.g., toluene, turpentine), as nail polish removers and glue solvents (acetone, methyl acetate, ethyl acetate), in spot removers (e.g., hexane, petrol ether), in detergents (citrus terpenes) and in perfumes (ethanol). Water is a solvent for polar molecules and the most common solvent used by living things; all the ions and proteins in a cell are dissolved in water within a cell. Solvents find various applications in chemical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas industries, including in chemical syntheses and purification processes.


The global solvent market is expected to earn revenues of about US$33 billion in 2019.[citation needed] The dynamic economic development in emerging markets like China, India or Brazil will especially continue to boost demand for solvents. Specialists expect the worldwide solvent consumption to increase at an average annual rate of 2.5% over the subsequent years. Accordingly, the growth rate seen during the past eight years will be surpassed.