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Dispersible vs. Soluble: What's the Difference?

By Janet White & Harlon Moss || Updated on May 29, 2024
Dispersible substances break into small particles in a liquid without dissolving, whereas soluble substances completely dissolve, forming a homogeneous solution.

Key Differences

Dispersible substances, when mixed with a liquid, break into small particles but do not dissolve. These particles remain suspended throughout the liquid, creating a mixture where the solid particles are still distinguishable. Soluble substances, on the other hand, dissolve completely in a liquid to form a homogeneous solution. In this case, the solute integrates fully with the solvent, and the original particles are no longer visible.
When considering the application in pharmaceuticals, dispersible tablets are designed to disintegrate into fine particles in water, making them easier to swallow. Soluble tablets, however, dissolve completely in water, forming a clear solution for ingestion.
In culinary contexts, dispersible ingredients may add texture or thickness to a dish without fully dissolving, like cornstarch in water. Soluble ingredients, like sugar, dissolve to provide uniform sweetness throughout the dish.
From a chemical perspective, dispersibility is about the physical distribution of particles in a liquid, whereas solubility involves a chemical interaction between the solute and solvent, leading to the solute’s complete dissolution.
Dispersible substances are often used in applications where a suspension is needed, as the particles remain intact. Soluble substances are preferred when a uniform solution is desired, ensuring consistent distribution of the solute throughout the solvent.

Comparison Chart


Breaks into small particles in liquid
Completely dissolves in liquid

Mixture Type



Particles remain visible
Particles are no longer visible

Pharmaceutical Use

Disintegrates in water for easy intake
Dissolves in water forming clear solution

Culinary Use

Adds texture/thickness without dissolving
Provides uniform flavor or texture

Dispersible and Soluble Definitions


Breaks into small particles in a liquid.
The dispersible tablet breaks into fine particles in water.


Completely dissolves in a liquid to form a solution.
Sugar is highly soluble in water.


Remains as tiny particles throughout the liquid.
The dispersible paint particles floated evenly in the solution.


Chemically interacts with the solvent to dissolve.
The soluble compound broke down completely in the solvent.


Forms a suspension when mixed with a liquid.
The powder is dispersible in water, creating a cloudy mixture.


Forms a homogeneous mixture when dissolved.
Salt is soluble in water, making a clear solution.


Used for medications to ensure easy consumption.
Dispersible aspirin is easier for children to take.


Used in various applications where a uniform solution is required.
Soluble vitamins dissolve in water for easy absorption.


To drive off or scatter in different directions
The police dispersed the crowd.


Particles are no longer visible after dissolving.
The soluble powder left no residue in the drink.


To strew or distribute widely
The airplane dispersed the leaflets over the city.


Capable of being dissolved, especially easily dissolved
Soluble fats.


To cause to attenuate and disappear
The sun dispersed the fog.


Possible to solve or explain
Soluble mysteries.


To separate (light) into spectral rays.


Able to be dissolved.
Sugar is soluble in water.


To distribute (particles) evenly throughout a medium.


Able to be solved or explained.
That mystery should be easily soluble.


To separate and move in different directions; scatter
The crowd dispersed once the concert ended.


Susceptible of being dissolved in a fluid; capable of solution; as, some substances are soluble in alcohol which are not soluble in water.
Sugar is . . . soluble in water and fusible in fire.


To attenuate and vanish; dissipate
The storm clouds had dispersed by noon.


Susceptible of being solved; as, a soluble algebraic problem; susceptible of being disentangled, unraveled, or explained; as, the mystery is perhaps soluble.


Capable of being dispersed, or of forming a dispersion


Relaxed; open or readily opened.


Not completely dissolved, but evenly distributed.
The dispersible starch added thickness to the soup.


(of a substance) capable of being dissolved in some solvent (usually water)


Susceptible of solution or of being solved or explained;
The puzzle is soluble


Can a dispersible substance become soluble?

No, dispersible substances form suspensions, not solutions.

Is sugar dispersible or soluble in water?

Sugar is soluble in water.

Are dispersible substances always visible in the liquid?

Yes, the particles remain visible as they do not dissolve completely.

Do soluble substances form clear solutions?

Yes, soluble substances dissolve completely, forming clear solutions.

Is salt in water a dispersible or soluble example?


Can dispersible substances be used in medications?

Yes, they are often used for medications that need to be easily ingested.

What happens to soluble substances in a liquid?

They dissolve completely, integrating with the solvent.

What is the main difference between dispersible and soluble substances?

Dispersible substances break into small particles in a liquid, while soluble substances dissolve completely.

Are soluble substances chemically integrated with the liquid?

Yes, they chemically dissolve into the liquid.

Can dispersible substances create cloudy mixtures?

Yes, they create suspensions which can be cloudy.

Is dispersibility a physical or chemical property?

Physical property.

Does solubility involve a chemical reaction?

Yes, solubility involves chemical interaction with the solvent.

Are soluble substances preferred for making clear drinks?

Yes, because they dissolve completely, leaving no residue.

Do dispersible substances dissolve over time?

No, they remain as suspended particles.

Are soluble substances used in clear soups and broths?

Yes, to ensure clarity and uniform taste.

Do soluble substances require stirring to dissolve?

Often, yes, to speed up the dissolution process.

Can soluble substances leave particles in the liquid?

No, soluble substances do not leave particles as they dissolve fully.

Is cornstarch dispersible or soluble?

Cornstarch is dispersible.

Can dispersible substances affect the texture of a mixture?

Yes, they can add thickness or texture without dissolving.

Can dispersible particles be filtered out of a liquid?

Yes, they can be filtered as they are suspended, not dissolved.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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