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Colloid vs. Solution: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 20, 2023
A colloid is a mixture where one substance of microscopically dispersed insoluble particles is suspended throughout another substance, whereas a solution is a homogeneous mixture where a solute is dissolved in a solvent.

Key Differences

Colloids consist of two distinct phases: the dispersed phase (particles) and the continuous phase (medium), which coexist without dissolving completely. In contrast, a solution is a single phase where the solute particles are completely dissolved in the solvent, forming a uniform mixture.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
The particles in a colloid are larger than those in a true solution, often ranging from 1 to 1000 nanometers in size. Solutions, on the other hand, have solute particles that are much smaller, typically at the molecular or ionic level, and are not visible under a microscope.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
Colloids exhibit the Tyndall effect, where light is scattered by the larger particles, making the light beam visible in the colloid. Solutions do not show the Tyndall effect as their particles are too small to scatter light.
Huma Saeed
Dec 20, 2023
Stability differs between colloids and solutions. Colloids can be relatively unstable and may separate over time, while solutions are typically stable and the solute does not settle out or separate from the solvent.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
Examples of colloids include fog, milk, and jelly, where the different substances are mixed but not dissolved. Solutions include salt water and sugar dissolved in water, where the solute is completely dissolved and indistinguishable from the solvent.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Particle Size

1-1000 nanometers
Molecular or ionic level
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Visibility

Particles visible under microscope
Particles not visible
Huma Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Tyndall Effect

Exhibits Tyndall effect
No Tyndall effect
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Stability

May separate over time
Generally stable
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Examples

Fog, milk, jelly
Salt water, sugar in water
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023
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Colloid and Solution Definitions

Colloid

A mixture with particles suspended in a continuous medium.
Mayonnaise is a colloid, as it contains oil droplets dispersed in water.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

A homogeneous mixture of two or more substances.
Salt dissolved in water forms a solution.
Huma Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A system where fine particles are suspended in a fluid where they are supported by buoyancy.
Whipped cream is a colloid with air bubbles trapped in cream.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

A liquid mixture in which the minor component (the solute) is uniformly distributed within the major component (the solvent).
Coffee is a solution of water and various dissolved compounds.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A substance where microscopic particles are evenly dispersed throughout another material.
Smoke is a colloid consisting of solid particles in air.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

A mixture where a solute is dissolved in a solvent.
Sugar dissolved in tea is a solution.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A heterogeneous mixture that does not settle or separate.
Gelatin is a colloid, with water evenly distributed in a network of proteins.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

A mixture that forms when one substance dissolves another.
A solution of vinegar is formed when acetic acid dissolves in water.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A mixture where one substance is dispersed evenly throughout another.
Paint is a colloid, with pigment particles evenly dispersed in a liquid medium.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

A uniform mixture of molecular or ionic species.
Alcohol in water is a solution, with alcohol molecules evenly distributed in water.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A system in which finely divided particles, which are approximately 1 to 1,000 millimicrons in size, are dispersed within a continuous medium in a manner that prevents them from being filtered easily or settled rapidly.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

A method or process of dealing with a problem
Sought a solution to falling enrollments.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

The particulate matter so dispersed.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Solution

The answer to a problem or the explanation for something
The solution to the mystery.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

The gelatinous stored secretion of the thyroid gland, consisting mainly of thyroglobulin.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

Gelatinous material resulting from degeneration in diseased tissue.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

Of, relating to, containing, or having the nature of a colloid.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

Glue-like; gelatinous.
Colloid tumours
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

(chemistry) A stable system of two phases, one of which is dispersed in the other in the form of very small droplets or particles.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

(meteorology) An intimate mixture of two substances, one of which, called the dispersed phase (or colloid), is uniformly distributed in a finely divided state throughout the second substance, called the dispersion medium (or dispersing medium).
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

(geology) A particle less than 1 micron in diameter, following the Wentworth scale
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

Resembling glue or jelly; characterized by a jellylike appearance; gelatinous; as, colloid tumors.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A substance (as albumin, gum, gelatin, etc.) which is of a gelatinous rather than a crystalline nature, and which diffuses itself through animal membranes or vegetable parchment more slowly than crystalloids do; - opposed to crystalloid.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A gelatinous substance found in colloid degeneration and colloid cancer.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Colloid

A mixture with properties between those of a solution and fine suspension
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

FAQs

How is a solution different from a colloid?

In a solution, the solute dissolves completely in the solvent, forming a homogeneous mixture, unlike a colloid.
Huma Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

What is the Tyndall effect in colloids?

The Tyndall effect is the scattering of light by colloidal particles, making a light beam visible in the colloid.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

What defines a colloid?

A colloid is a mixture where small particles are suspended throughout a continuous medium without dissolving.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What are examples of colloids in daily life?

Examples include milk, mayonnaise, and fog.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Are solutions always liquid?

No, solutions can be gases, liquids, or solids, but the most common solutions are liquid.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Can colloids be separated into their components?

Yes, colloids can be separated by methods like centrifugation or filtration.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Do solutions exhibit the Tyndall effect?

No, solutions do not show the Tyndall effect as their particles are too small to scatter light.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Can the particles of a colloid be seen with the naked eye?

No, colloidal particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye but can be detected under a microscope.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What are examples of solutions?

Common examples include salt water, sugar in tea, and carbonated beverages.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

Can the solute in a solution settle out over time?

No, in a stable solution, the solute does not settle out or separate from the solvent.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Are colloids always liquid?

No, colloids can be in gaseous, liquid, or solid states.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What role does temperature play in solutions?

Temperature can affect the solubility of the solute in a solution, often increasing solubility with higher temperatures.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Do colloids conduct electricity?

It depends on the nature of the colloidal particles; some may conduct electricity, while others do not.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Can the concentration of a solution be changed?

Yes, by adding more solute or solvent, the concentration of a solution can be altered.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What is a saturated solution?

A saturated solution is one in which no more solute can be dissolved at a given temperature and pressure.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

How is the stability of a colloid measured?

Stability of colloids can be measured by observing if and how quickly the particles settle or aggregate.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

How are colloids different from suspensions?

Colloids have smaller particles that don't settle out quickly, unlike suspensions where particles can settle over time.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Is it possible to separate the components of a solution?

Yes, through processes like evaporation or distillation, the components of a solution can be separated.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

What is the role of a solvent in a solution?

The solvent is the component of a solution that dissolves the solute, typically present in a larger amount.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Can colloids be colored?

Yes, colloids can be colored if the dispersed phase or the continuous phase has color.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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