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Solution vs. Suspension: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Janet White || Updated on November 28, 2023
A solution is a homogeneous mixture where substances are dissolved, while a suspension is a heterogeneous mixture where particles are suspended but not dissolved.

Key Differences

A solution is a homogeneous mixture where the solute is completely dissolved in the solvent, forming a uniform composition. While, suspensions are heterogeneous mixtures where particles are dispersed throughout the solvent but remain undissolved.
Solutions are typically clear and the solute cannot be separated by filtration. In suspensions, the suspended particles can often be seen and may settle over time or be separated by filtration.
The particle size in a solution is at the molecular or ionic level, making them invisible to the naked eye. Suspensions contain larger particles that are visible and can make the mixture appear cloudy or opaque.
Solutions do not scatter light significantly (Tyndall effect), due to the small size of dissolved particles. Suspensions can scatter light because of the larger size of the suspended particles.
Solutions are stable and don't separate over time. Suspensions can separate on standing, with particles settling at the bottom of the container.

Comparison Chart


Homogeneous mixture
Heterogeneous mixture

Particle Size

Molecular or ionic level
Larger, visible particles


Clear and transparent
Cloudy or opaque

Light Scattering

Does not scatter light significantly
Can scatter light (Tyndall effect)


Stable, does not separate
Can separate over time, particles settle

Solution and Suspension Definitions


A homogeneous mixture of two or more substances.
Saltwater is a solution of salt dissolved in water.


A heterogeneous mixture with solid particles suspended in a liquid.
Mud in water is a classic example of a suspension.


A mixture where the solute is completely dissolved in the solvent.
Sugar dissolves in water to form a sweet solution.


A mixture where particles are dispersed but not dissolved.
Flour suspended in water forms a cloudy suspension.


A mixture that is uniform in composition.
The air is a solution of various gases.


A mixture that scatters light due to larger particles.
A suspension of chalk in water will scatter light.


A liquid mixture where the solute is invisible.
Alcohol in water forms a clear solution.


A mixture where particles can settle over time.
The particles in a sand and water mixture will settle, forming a suspension.


A stable mixture that doesn't separate over time.
A solution of vinegar and water is used for cleaning.


A mixture that can be separated by filtration.
Suspensions like dirty water can be clarified through filtration.


A method or process of dealing with a problem
Sought a solution to falling enrollments.


An interruption or temporary cessation, as of an activity or of the application of a rule or law.


The answer to a problem or the explanation for something
The solution to the mystery.


A temporary prohibition or exclusion, as from attending school or enjoying a privilege, especially as a punishment.


A postponement, as of a judgment, opinion, or decision.


Do suspensions settle over time?

Yes, particles in a suspension can settle.

What is a solution?

A homogeneous mixture where substances are dissolved.

Are solutions always liquid?

Mostly, but there are also gas and solid solutions.

Can solutions conduct electricity?

If they contain dissolved ions, they can.

Are suspensions cloudy?

Generally, they are cloudy or opaque.

What defines a suspension?

A heterogeneous mixture with undissolved particles.

Is a solution of sugar in water stable?

Yes, it remains uniform over time.

What happens to a suspension on standing?

The particles may settle at the bottom.

Can solutions be separated easily?

No, due to the dissolved nature of the solute.

What causes the Tyndall effect in suspensions?

The scattering of light by larger particles.

Can solutions be colored?

Yes, depending on the dissolved substances.

Do solutions have a uniform composition?

Yes, throughout the mixture.

Can suspensions be filtered?

Yes, to separate the suspended particles.

Do suspensions need to be shaken?

Often, to redistribute the particles.

Can you see particles in a suspension?

Yes, suspended particles are often visible.

How do you separate a suspension?

Often through filtration or settling.

What’s an example of a solid solution?

Alloys like bronze or steel.

Is the air we breathe a solution?

Yes, it's a gaseous solution of various gases.

Is saline water a solution?

Yes, it’s salt dissolved in water.

Can suspensions be made with gases?

No, suspensions are typically solids in liquids.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-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.

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