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Colloids

Examples and descriptions of heterogeneous mixtures

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Colloids

What type of mixture is a smoke flare?

Colloids

A colloid is a heterogeneous mixture whose particle size is intermediate between those of a solution and a suspension.  The dispersed particles are spread evenly throughout the dispersion medium, which can be a solid, liquid, or gas.  Because the dispersed particles of a colloid are not as large as those of a suspension, they do not settle out upon standing.  Table below summarizes the properties and distinctions between solutions, colloids, and suspensions.

The table below lists examples of colloidal systems, most of which are very familiar.  The dispersed phase describes the particles, while the dispersion medium is the material in which the particles are distributed.Examples of Colloids

Classes of Colloids

Class of Colloid

Dispersed Phase

Dispersion Medium

Examples

Sol and gel

solid

liquid

paint, jellies, blood, gelation, mud

Solid aerosol

solid

gas

smoke, dust in air

Solid emulsion

liquid

solid

cheese, butter

Liquid emulsion

liquid

liquid

milk, mayonnaise

Liquid aerosol

liquid

gas

fog, mist, clouds, aerosol spray

Foam

gas

liquid

whipped cream, shaving cream

Emulsions

Butter and mayonnaise are examples of a class of colloids called emulsions.  An emulsion is a colloidal dispersion of a liquid in either a liquid or a solid.  A stable emulsion requires an emulsifying agent to be present.  Mayonnaise is made in part of oil and vinegar.  

Summary

  • A colloid is a heterogeneous mixture whose particle size is intermediate between those of a solution and a suspension.
  • An emulsion is a colloidal dispersion of a liquid in either a liquid or a solid.

Practice

Use the link below to answer the following questions:

http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/colloid-properties-colloids.html

  1. What is one property of colloids that distinguishes them from true solutions?

Review

  1. What is a colloid?
  2. What is the dispersion medium in blood?
  3. What is an emulsion?

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