Difference Wiki

Colloid vs. Suspension: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on November 28, 2023
A colloid is a mixture with particle sizes between 1 nm and 1000 nm that don't settle out. A suspension contains larger particles that will settle over time unless agitated.

Key Differences

A colloid comprises tiny particles dispersed throughout another substance, where these particles are larger than molecules but too tiny to be seen easily, staying dispersed without settling out. On the contrary, a suspension contains particles that are large enough to be seen and, given time, these particles will settle to the bottom unless the suspension is continually agitated.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
The properties of a colloid arise because its particles are spread evenly throughout the solution, and they won't settle or separate on standing. Suspensions, however, differ in this aspect, as their particles will settle if the mixture is allowed to stand without disturbance.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
The particles in a colloid are often electrically charged, which prevents them from aggregating and settling out of the mixture. In contrast, particles in a suspension are usually larger and lack this charge, making them susceptible to the pull of gravity and eventually settling.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
The Tyndall effect, where light is scattered by particles in a mixture, is commonly seen in colloids due to their intermediate particle size. Suspensions, due to their larger particle size, may also show this effect, but their particles will eventually settle, changing the mixture's appearance.
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023
When it comes to filtration, separating particles from a colloid can be challenging, often requiring special techniques or ultra-filtration. In a suspension, simple filtration can typically separate the particles from the dispersing medium, given their larger size.
Janet White
Nov 28, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Particle Size

Between 1 nm and 1000 nm.
Larger than those in colloids.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Settling of Particles

Particles don't settle due to their small size.
Particles will settle over time unless stirred.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Visibility

Particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
Particles are visible and often make the mixture cloudy.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Tyndall Effect

Shows the Tyndall effect due to intermediate particle size.
May show the effect, but particles eventually settle.
Sara Rehman
Nov 28, 2023

Filtration

Hard to separate particles through regular filtration.
Particles can be separated through simple filtration.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
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Colloid and Suspension Definitions

Colloid

A mixture in which microscopically dispersed insoluble particles are suspended throughout another substance.
Milk is a colloid where fat droplets are dispersed in water.
Huma Saeed
Nov 01, 2023

Suspension

A mixture in which particles are dispersed in a fluid and will settle over time.
Muddy water is a suspension of soil in water.
Huma Saeed
Nov 01, 2023

Colloid

A system in which particles are dispersed in a continuous phase of a different composition.
Whipped cream is a colloid of air in cream.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 01, 2023

Suspension

A system in which solid particles are present in a liquid or gas medium.
Orange juice with pulp is a suspension with bits of fruit in the liquid.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2023

Colloid

A material that comprises two phases, with one dispersed continuously through the other.
Gelatin desserts are colloids where liquid water is dispersed in solid gelatin.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 01, 2023

Suspension

A heterogeneous mixture containing larger particles that aren't dissolved.
Chalk in water forms a suspension that will separate over time.
Janet White
Nov 01, 2023

Colloid

A substance with components of intermediate size between a solution and a suspension.
Mayonnaise is a colloid consisting of oil and vinegar.
Harlon Moss
Nov 01, 2023

Suspension

A state in which particles are temporarily dispersed in a medium.
Medicines often have active ingredients in suspension for even distribution.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 01, 2023

Colloid

A stable dispersion of particles, often having properties different from those of the individual components.
Butter is a colloid with a different texture and taste than its ingredients.
Janet White
Nov 01, 2023

Suspension

A mixture where internal phases have differences in density, causing settling if undisturbed.
Sand in water quickly settles, forming a clear suspension.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 01, 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.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Suspension

An interruption or temporary cessation, as of an activity or of the application of a rule or law.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Colloid

The particulate matter so dispersed.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Suspension

A temporary prohibition or exclusion, as from attending school or enjoying a privilege, especially as a punishment.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

FAQs

Can you typically filter out particles from a colloid using regular filtration?

No, colloidal particles are too small for regular filtration.
Janet White
Nov 28, 2023

Which mixture shows the Tyndall effect due to intermediate-sized particles?

Colloids exhibit the Tyndall effect because of their particle size.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Do particles in a colloid settle over time?

No, particles in a colloid remain dispersed and don't settle.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

In which mixture will gravity pull particles to the bottom?

In a suspension, gravity can pull the larger particles to the bottom.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

What kind of charge do particles in colloids often have?

Colloidal particles often have an electrical charge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 28, 2023

Is whipped cream a colloid or suspension?

Whipped cream is a colloid.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 28, 2023

Do colloids enhance the stability of products in the food industry?

Yes, colloids can improve stability, texture, and appearance in foods.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

If a mixture's particles settle when left undisturbed, is it a colloid or suspension?

It's a suspension, as particles in suspensions can settle over time.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

How do the properties of a suspension change if it's left undisturbed?

Particles in a suspension will settle at the bottom, making it less uniform.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Which one can be separated using simple filtration: colloid or suspension?

Suspensions can be separated using simple filtration.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can you give an example of a gaseous colloid?

Fog is a gaseous colloid with tiny water droplets dispersed in air.
Janet White
Nov 28, 2023

Can you easily see particles in a suspension?

Yes, particles in a suspension are usually large enough to be visible.
Huma Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Which is more stable: a colloid or a suspension?

A colloid is more stable, as its particles don't settle out.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 28, 2023

Are the particles in butter considered colloidal?

Yes, butter is a colloid with water in a fat matrix.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

How do particles in a suspension interact with a dispersing medium?

They're dispersed but will settle out over time if undisturbed.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

If you shake a suspension, will the particles redisperse?

Yes, shaking can temporarily redisperse particles in a suspension.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Which is typically more opaque: a colloid or a suspension?

A suspension is typically more opaque due to its larger particles.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

What's a key visual difference between a colloid and suspension?

Suspensions are often cloudy with visible particles, while colloids are usually consistent.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is milk an example of a colloid or suspension?

Milk is an example of a colloid.
Sara Rehman
Nov 28, 2023

What happens when light passes through a colloid?

A colloid can scatter light, demonstrating the Tyndall effect.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 28, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
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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