For convenience, chemicals are sometimes bought and stored as concentrated solutions, which are then diluted before use. Aqueous hydrochloric acid, for example, is sold commercially as a 12.0 M solution, yet it is most commonly used in the laboratory after dilution with water to a final concentration of either 6.0 M or 1.0 M.
Concentrated solution + Solvent → Dilute solution
The main thing to remember when diluting a concentrated solution is that the number of moles of solute is constant; only the volume of the solution is changed by adding more solvent. Because the number of moles of solute can be calculated by multiplying molarity times volume, we can set up the following equation:
where Mi is the initial molarity, Vi is the initial volume, Mf is the final molarity, and Vf is the final volume after dilution. Rearranging this equation into a more useful form shows that the molar concentration after dilution (Mf) can be found by multiplying the initial concentration (Mi) by the ratio of initial and final volumes (Vi > Vf):