When you have completed this page, try the Mixtures Quiz.

A mixture is several pure substances combined. Unlike a compound, these substances can be physically separated and when they are combined, the amounts of each substance are not fixed.

A mixture would be more like a green salad where the different vegetables can be put together when a bowl, but can be easily separated where a compound is more like a baked cake where it would be very difficult to separate out the ingredients once the cake is baked.

The different parts of a mixture keep their own properties when put together.

One kind of mixture is a solution. A solution is a mixture of two or more substances in which one or more of these substances (solutes) is dissolved in another substance such as water or another sort of liquid (solvent). A solute can be a gas, solid or liquid. Some common solutions include ammonia and vinegar as well as salt water. The amount of the solutes compared to the solvent in a solution is the concentration of the solution. The greatest concentration of a solute in a solvent is the solubility of a solution. When the solvent contains the most solute it can hold, it is said to be saturated; if it has less solute than it can hold, it is unsaturated.

A suspension is similar to a solution, but the particles that are in the suspension are able to be seen by the naked eye.

A colloid is a type of mixture in which one substance is split up into tiny particles and spread throughout another substance. Fog and smoke are examples of colloids. One way a colloid is different than solutions is that colloid particles scatter light. By taking a flashlight and focusing it on a colloid, one can see the light beams reflected off the particles in the colloid.

The parts of mixtures can be separated by physical means. Some of the ways that mixtures can be separated include evaporation, precipitation, distillation, filtration and chromatography.


Chemistry Index Page