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Difference between Homogenous and Heterogeneous Mixture

Chemistry is one of the critical subjects that deal with different terms like mixtures, compounds, elements, etc. Chemistry is the subject used for various research experiments. Amidst these research and experiments, we come across two terms, i.e., homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures. Now, what are these mixtures, and what importance do they hold during several experiments.

Well, a homogenous mixture is defined as the mixture in which the composition formed is smooth and uniform. The matter used in homogenous mixtures is easily dissolvable. These substances are in an equal amount in the composition. For instance, the composition of salt and water is a homogenous mixture, and the composition of sugar and water is also homogenous. The elements that are not differentiated from one another are called homogenous mixtures. Some other examples of homogenous mixtures include wine, seawater, vinegar, air, blood, etc. It is interesting to note that there is a significant kind of homogenous mixtures called solutions.

Homogenous vs Heterogeneous Mixture

On the other hand, a heterogeneous mixture is defined as a mixture in which the composition is not smooth and uniform. There is no uniformity present in the elements. The elements are not easily dissolved. These types of mixtures are seen in solid, liquid, and gaseous states. For instance, sand and sugar cannot be easily dissolved. One can see the sugar crystals and sand separately. Thus, sand and sugar is heterogeneous mixture. There are two significant kinds of heterogeneous mixtures as well, namely suspension and colloids. Now, having said that, let us discuss some points of contrast between the two briefly.

S.NO. HOMOGENOUS MIXTURE HETEROGENEOUS MIXTURE
1. A homogenous mixture is defined as the mixture in which the composition formed is uniform. On the other hand, a heterogeneous mixture is defined as the mixture in which the composition formed is not uniform.
2. The elements and substances used in homogenous mixtures dissolve easily. The elements and substances used in homogeneous mixtures are not easily dissolved.
3. The term 'homo' means identical. The term 'hetero' means dissimilar.
4. The texture formed of a homogeneous mixture is smooth. The texture formed of a heterogeneous mixture is not smooth.
5. The size of the particle in a homogeneous mixture is that of an atom. The size of the particle is quite large in heterogeneous mixtures.
6. The substances dissolved cannot be seen with naked eyes. The substances dissolved can be seen with naked eyes.
7. Homogenous mixtures include pure substances. On the other hand, heterogeneous substances include impure substances.
8. Due to the dissolvable nature, the homogenous mixtures are called solutions. Due to the non-uniformity of substances, heterogeneous mixtures are called colloids. These colloids can be seen in solid, liquid, or gases.
9. The mixture is uniform and comprises of only one phase. The mixture is non-uniform and comprises of many layers and phases.
10. Examples:
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Wine
  • Vinegar
  • Oil
  • Gasoline
Examples:
  • Mud
  • Sand
  • Pepper
  • Air
  • Pizza
  • The mixture of sand and sodium chloride

So, these are some of the points of contrast between homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures. These mixtures vary in certain aspects, as mentioned above. Well, it is interesting to note that both homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures possess some essential characteristics for carrying out several experiments. Some of the characteristics are given below.

Characteristics of Homogeneous Mixtures

  1. The matter and substances used in homogeneous mixtures are easily dissolved.
  2. The properties of all the substances are the same in homogeneous mixtures.
  3. Homogeneous mixtures are seen in only two solids, namely zinc and copper. The elements, once dissolved, cannot be differentiated.
  4. Alcohol, salt, and sugar are the primary examples of homogeneous mixtures.

Characteristics of Heterogeneous Mixtures

  1. The substances are not dissolved easily.
  2. The composition formed is not smooth.
  3. The properties of substances differ from each other.
  4. For instance, in the composition of sulphur and iron, one can easily differentiate iron with the help of a magnetic force.
  5. Other examples of heterogeneous mixtures include oil, pizza, pepper, the mixture of sand and sodium chloride, etc.
  6. It is much easier to separate substances from one another.
  7. Heterogeneous mixtures are generally seen in solid, liquid, and gases.
  8. Heterogeneous mixtures have layers or phases. There must be at least two components dissolved with one another. For instance, when liquid gets dissolved with gas, one gets aerosol. Similarly, when sold reacts with liquid, the composition leads to the suspension of the mixture.
  9. Some examples of heterogeneous mixtures include:
    • Cereal with milk.
    • Water and oil.
    • The pulp of orange juice.
    • Water and sand.
    • Water mixed with cement and gravel.
    • Soda and ice cubes

So, these are some of the characteristics of homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures. Well, it is interesting to note that heterogeneous mixtures undergo a process called homogenization. Homogenization is defined as a process of turning a heterogeneous mixture into a homogeneous mixture with the help of non-soluble liquids like methanol.

Now, here arises a question, i.e., is soft drink a heterogeneous mixture or a homogeneous mixture? Well, in soft drinks, various substances are used like sweeteners, water, carbon dioxide, etc., which form a uniform mixture. These substances are easily dissolved. Therefore, soft-drink is a homogeneous mixture.

Students also wonder if water is homogeneous or heterogeneous. Well, it is important to note that in a heterogeneous mixture, the components are seen in two layers or phases. So, talking about water, it is a homogeneous mixture in itself because water comprises of elements like nitrogen, oxygen, and other gaseous substances.

Homogeneous mixtures and heterogeneous mixtures are different from one another. The drinks that we buy in stores are homogeneous, whereas the mixtures which are not dissolved like sand and water are called heterogeneous mixtures. It is interesting to note that homogeneous mixtures do not depict any tyndall effect. Homogeneous mixtures are also called solutions. One of the examples of solutions includes alloys. All solutions are homogeneous mixtures.

On the other hand, heterogeneous mixtures depict the tyndall effect. The size of the particle is bigger, i.e., it ranges from one nanometre to one micrometre. The components of a heterogeneous mixture can easily be identified. As already stated above, homogeneous mixtures have two layers or phases. Heterogeneous mixtures are also called as colloids.

Both homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures are different from one another. There are general characteristics that make them vary from each other. Thus, it is important to know about both homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures as they are essential for carrying out several experiments and researches.


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