Precipitation is the formation of a solid in a solution during a chemical reaction. When the reaction occurs, the solid formed is called the precipitate, and the liquid remaining above the solid is called the supernate.

Natural methods of precipitation include settling or sedimentation, where a solid forms over a period of time due to ambient forces like gravity or centrifugation. During chemical reactions, precipitation may also occur particularly if an insoluble substance is introduced into a solution and the density happens to be greater (otherwise the precipitate would float or form a suspension). With soluble substances, precipitation is accelerated once the solution becomes supersaturated.

For more, visit the Wikipedia entry for precipitate, URL: