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True Solution vs. Suspension: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on February 16, 2024
A true solution is a homogenous mixture at a molecular level, whereas a suspension is a heterogeneous mixture with larger particles that may settle.

Key Differences

In a true solution, the particles are molecules or ions, too small to see, while in a suspension, the particles are larger and often visible.
A true solution is uniform throughout, meaning it's the same in every part, but a suspension has visible particles that can settle out.
Particles in a true solution cannot be filtered out, as they are too small, but in a suspension, the particles can often be filtered.
A true solution does not scatter light significantly (Tyndall effect), but a suspension scatters light because of its larger particles.
True solutions are stable and don't separate over time, whereas suspensions can separate, with particles settling at the bottom.

Comparison Chart

Particle Size

Molecular or ionic, very small
Larger, often visible


Homogenous throughout
Heterogeneous, particles may settle


Particles cannot be filtered out
Particles can often be filtered out

Light Scattering

Does not scatter light (Tyndall effect absent)
Scatters light due to larger particles


Stable, does not separate over time
Can separate over time, with particles settling

True Solution and Suspension Definitions

True Solution

A stable mixture that does not settle or separate upon standing.
Alcohol in water is a true solution that remains consistent over time.


A mixture that scatters light due to the presence of larger particles.
A suspension of flour in water shows the Tyndall effect when light passes through.

True Solution

A homogenous mixture at a molecular or ionic level.
Saltwater is a true solution where salt is completely dissolved.


A mixture where particles can often be filtered out.
In a suspension like sandy water, the sand can be filtered out.

True Solution

A mixture where the solute is uniformly distributed within the solvent.
Sugar dissolved in water forms a true solution, making it indistinguishable.


A mixture where the particles are visible and not uniformly distributed.
Italian dressing is a suspension with visible herbs and oil droplets.

True Solution

A mixture that does not scatter light due to the small size of its particles.
A true solution like air does not show the Tyndall effect.


A heterogeneous mixture with larger particles that may settle over time.
Mud in water is a suspension as the mud particles will eventually settle.

True Solution

A solution where the solute particles are too small to be seen or filtered out.
In a true solution like dissolved oxygen in water, the particles are invisible.


A mixture that is not stable and separates upon standing.
Paint is a suspension that requires stirring as it separates over time.


Do suspensions scatter light?

Yes, suspensions scatter light due to larger particle size.

What is a true solution?

A homogenous mixture at a molecular or ionic level.

Can true solutions be filtered?

No, the particles in a true solution are too small to filter.

Can the components of a true solution be separated easily?

No, separating components in a true solution is complex.

Does the Tyndall effect occur in true solutions?

No, true solutions do not show the Tyndall effect.

What is a suspension?

A heterogeneous mixture with larger particles that may settle.

Are true solutions always clear?

Generally, yes, because the particles are too small to see.

Is blood a true solution or a suspension?

Blood is a suspension due to the presence of cells and other particles.

How does temperature affect a true solution?

Temperature can affect the solubility of solutes in true solutions.

What is an example of a true solution in daily life?

A common example is a dissolved CO2 in carbonated beverages.

Are true solutions always liquid?

No, air is an example of a gaseous true solution.

Why do suspensions need to be shaken?

To redistribute the particles that have settled.

What causes a suspension to be cloudy?

The larger, visible particles in a suspension cause cloudiness.

Is smoke a true solution or a suspension?

Smoke is a suspension as it contains particles in the air.

How can a suspension be identified?

By its cloudy appearance and particle settling upon standing.

Do particles in a suspension settle over time?

Yes, the larger particles in a suspension can settle.

Are suspensions stable mixtures?

No, suspensions can separate and are not stable over time.

Can suspensions be homogenized?

Temporarily, by stirring or shaking, but they will eventually separate.

Is a saltwater solution a true solution or suspension?

Saltwater is a true solution as salt is completely dissolved.

Can a true solution be colored?

Yes, if the dissolved substance imparts color, like copper sulfate in water.
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.
Edited 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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