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Homogeneous Mixture

Uniform composition throughout

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Homogeneous Mixture

Credit: Courtesy of Renee Comet and the National Cancer Institute
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coffee_NCI_Visuals_Online.jpg

How do you like your coffee?

Many people enjoy a cup of coffee at some point during the day. Some may drink it black, while others may put cream (or some dairy substitute) and sugar in their coffee. You can buy high-end coffee drinks at espresso stands (either sit-down or drive-through). Whatever your preference, you want the coffee to be the same at the beginning and the end of your drink. You don’t want the components to separate out, but you want your drink to be uniform from top to bottom.

Mixtures

Ordinary table salt is called sodium chloride. It is considered a substance because it has a uniform and definite composition. All samples of sodium chloride are chemically identical. Water is also a pure substance. Salt easily dissolves in water, but salt water cannot be classified as a substance because its composition can vary. You may dissolve a small amount of salt or a large amount into a given amount of water. A mixture is a physical blend of two or more components, each of which retains its own identity and properties in the mixture. Only the form of the salt is changed when it is dissolved into water. It retains its composition and properties.

Homogeneous Mixtures

A homogeneous mixture is a mixture in which the composition is uniform throughout the mixture. The salt water described above is homogeneous because the dissolved salt is evenly distributed throughout the entire salt water sample. Often it is easy to confuse a homogeneous mixture with a pure substance because they are both uniform.  The difference is that the composition of the substance is always the same. The amount of salt in the salt water can vary from one sample to another. All solutions would be considered homogeneous because the dissolved material is present in the same amount throughout the solution.

One characteristic of mixtures is that they can be separated into their components. Since each part of the mixture has not reacted with another part of the mixture, the identities of the different materials is unchanged.

Summary

• A homogeneous mixture is a mixture in which the composition is uniform throughout the mixture.
• All solutions would be considered homogeneous.

Review

1. What is a mixture?
2. What is a homogeneous mixture?
3. Are all solutions homogeneous mixtures?
4. Can homogeneous mixtures be separated into their components?

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