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Solutions vs. Suspensions: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 21, 2023
Solutions are homogeneous mixtures with solute particles dissolved; suspensions have larger particles that settle out if not agitated.

Key Differences

Solutions represent a type of mixture in which the solute is fully dissolved in the solvent, leading to a consistent and uniform composition throughout. Suspensions, on the other hand, consist of particles that are larger and don't dissolve but remain dispersed throughout the medium. These particles can settle out over time.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023
In the realm of clarity, solutions are typically clear and allow light to pass through without scattering. Suspensions often appear cloudy or opaque due to the light being scattered by the undissolved particles. If you were to shine a beam of light through both, the beam would pass straight through solutions, while in suspensions, the path of the beam would be visibly disrupted.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023
On the topic of particle size, solutions possess very small particles—often at the molecular or ionic level—making them undetectable by ordinary means. Suspensions carry larger particles that are often visible and can be filtered out using common filtration methods.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023
From a stability standpoint, solutions don't separate into different layers over time since the solute remains dissolved. Suspensions, contrastingly, are unstable in nature. The particles within suspensions, being undissolved, tend to settle at the bottom if the suspension is left undisturbed for an extended period.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023
Considering the behavior when left alone, solutions are stable and don't need any agitation to maintain their uniformity. Suspensions, due to their inherent instability, need occasional stirring or shaking to prevent the particles from settling.
Sara Rehman
Oct 21, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Homogeneity

Homogeneous mixture where solute is fully dissolved.
Heterogeneous mixture with larger undissolved particles.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Clarity

Typically clear, allowing light to pass without scattering.
Cloudy or opaque, scattering light.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Particle Size

Very small, often molecular or ionic, undetectable by ordinary means.
Larger, visible, and can be filtered out.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Stability

Do not separate into different layers over time.
Particles settle out if left undisturbed.
Harlon Moss
Oct 21, 2023

Behavior When Left Alone

Stable and remain uniform without any need for agitation.
Need stirring or shaking occasionally to maintain dispersion.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023
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Solutions and Suspensions Definitions

Solutions

Stable mixtures that won't separate upon standing.
The components of a solution of ethanol and water remain mixed without settling.
Sara Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

Suspensions

Often cloudy or opaque due to the size of the dispersed particles.
A suspension of chalk in water will appear milky.
Janet White
Oct 21, 2023

Solutions

Often clear liquids that allow light to pass through.
Metallic solutions are clear but can have varying colors based on the metal.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Suspensions

Mixtures where particles can settle out if not continuously agitated.
Orange juice with pulp is a suspension, and the pulp can settle at the bottom.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Solutions

Characterized by uniform composition throughout.
In a solution of vinegar and water, each sip tastes the same due to its uniformity.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 21, 2023

Suspensions

Particles can often be separated by filtration.
The particles in a muddy water suspension can be filtered out using a fine mesh.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Solutions

Mixtures where solutes are completely dissolved in solvents.
In a sugar solution, sugar crystals disappear to form a clear liquid.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Suspensions

Heterogeneous mixtures with visible undissolved particles.
Sand in water creates a suspension that clears once the sand settles.
Huma Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Solutions

Homogeneous mixtures of two or more substances.
Saltwater is one of the most common solutions we encounter.
Huma Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Suspensions

Require agitation to maintain a uniform dispersion of particles.
Suspensions of some medications need to be shaken well before use.
Sara Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

Solutions

A method or process of dealing with a problem
Sought a solution to falling enrollments.
Sumera Saeed
Mar 22, 2019

Suspensions

An interruption or temporary cessation, as of an activity or of the application of a rule or law.
Sumera Saeed
Mar 22, 2019

FAQs

Can gases form solutions?

Yes, gases can dissolve in other gases to form solutions, e.g., air is a solution of various gases.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

What is a solution?

A solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances, where one substance (the solute) is uniformly distributed within another substance (the solvent).
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

How is a solution different from a suspension?

Unlike suspensions, solutions are homogeneous and the solute particles cannot be separated by settling or filtration.
Huma Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

What are aqueous solutions?

Aqueous solutions are solutions where water acts as the solvent.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Can the concentration of a solution be changed?

Yes, the concentration can be changed by adding or removing the solute or solvent.
Janet White
Oct 21, 2023

What happens if a suspension is left undisturbed?

The particles in a suspension can settle to the bottom over time.
Janet White
Oct 21, 2023

What factors affect solubility?

Temperature, pressure, and the nature of solute and solvent can affect solubility.
Harlon Moss
Oct 21, 2023

What is solubility?

Solubility is the maximum amount of a solute that can dissolve in a given amount of solvent at a specific temperature.
Sara Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

Do all solutes dissolve in all solvents?

No, solubility depends on the nature of both the solute and solvent. For example, oil does not dissolve in water.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

How can a suspension be re-dispersed?

Stirring or shaking can redistribute the particles throughout the suspension.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 21, 2023

Why don't particles in suspensions dissolve?

The particles are not molecularly dispersed and might be insoluble in the medium they are in.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

How can one separate particles from a suspension?

Methods like filtration, sedimentation, or centrifugation can be used to separate particles from suspensions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Can a suspension be clear?

No, suspensions are usually cloudy or opaque because of the undissolved particles.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

Can the particle size affect a suspension?

Yes, larger particles settle more quickly than smaller ones.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

What is a solvent?

The solvent is the component of a solution that is present in the largest amount and dissolves the other component(s).
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

What is a solute?

The solute is the component of a solution that gets dissolved in the solvent.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 21, 2023

How do suspensions differ from solutions?

Suspensions are heterogeneous and the particles can settle upon standing or be filtered out, unlike solutions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 21, 2023

What is the difference between a suspension and a colloid?

Particle size distinguishes them. In colloids, particles are smaller than in suspensions but larger than in true solutions.
Harlon Moss
Oct 21, 2023

Can gases form suspensions?

Yes, solid or liquid particles can be suspended in gases, like in smoke or mist.
Janet White
Oct 21, 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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