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Difference between Mixtures and Solutions - Mixture, Properties of Mixtures, Types of Mixtures, Solutions, Types of Solutions, Difference, Practice problems & FAQs

Have you ever made tea?

Let’s see the preparation of tea from the chemistry angle!

Add a cup of water to the vessel and some tea leaves. Such composition in chemistry is known as mixture. Now let's heat it. On heating tea leaves start diffusing the colour and its taste (some chemicals including nicotine) into the water. But the tea leaves remain insoluble in the water, which can be seen when it is still boiling. Now add some amount of milk. After this, add some sugar to the boiling mixture. The sugar will completely dissolve in the mixture with constant stirring. When the smell of uncooked tea leaves is gone, which indicates that the mixture is now boiled, take it off the heat and filter it through a sieve. The insoluble tea powder that is left in the strainer is the residue and the remaining content is a solution.

So, to prepare the tea, we added water, tea leaves, milk and sugar in the vessel which makes up the “Mixture” and the dissolved components like sugar, milk and chemicals released from the tea leaves and water toggethher forms a tea “Solution”.

So, let’s discuss about mixture and solution in detail.

Table of Contents

  • What is a Mixture?
  • Properties of Mixtures
  • Examples of Mixtures
  • Types of Mixtures
  • What is a Solution?
  • Types of Solutions
  • Properties of Solutions
  • Examples of Solutions
  • Difference between Mixture and Solution
  • Practice Problems
  • Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is a Mixture?

The combination of two or more components is known as a mixture when there is no chemical change. Both the specific qualities and the chemical bondings of the constituent parts of a mixture are retained. In most cases, they are the end product of a chemical mixing of different materials.

Soil is a prime example of a mixture. A shovelful of dirt contains some topsoil, some clay, possibly some sand, a few insects, perhaps some incredibly small microorganisms, such as a worm, or some rotting plant roots, as well as possible additional organic and inorganic components. Thus, the soil is a mixture of several substances. However, we can state that no two shovelfuls of earth are likely identical to one another. Perhaps one contains a higher percentage of sand, while the other contains more clay. The organic and inorganic parts of soil can be used to categorise the soil's constituents. The organic component is made up of bugs, worms, and plant fragments, whereas the inorganic component is made up of sand and clay. We may infer from this example that a mixture is not the same for all samples and that a mixture can be divided into its constituent elements.

  • Crude oil is a mixture of organic substances like hydrocarbons.
  • Sea water is a mixture of salt, water and other minerals.
  • Air is a mixture of of several gases like nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, helium etc.
  • Ink is a mixture created by combining various kinds of coloured dyes.
  • Carbon, sulphur, and potassium nitrate mixture makes up the gunpowder.

Properties of Mixtures

The important properties of mixtures are as follows:

  • The components of a mixture retain their original properties.
  • With the aid of mechanical methods, it is simple to distinguish and separate the mixture's components.
  • The ratio of the constituents can vary in its proportions and hence the composition of mixture changes.

Types of Mixtures

There are mainly two different kinds of mixture :

Heterogenous Mixture: A heterogenous mixture is that mixture in which the composition is not uniform throughout the solution and different components are observed having different phases. Example: Iron filings in copper sulphate.

Here, the composition of mixture is not same throughout as iron filings and copper sulphate is visible through naked eyes and can be separated on the basis of difference in magnetic properties.

Homogeneous Mixture: A homogenous mixture is that mixture in which the components mix with each other and its composition is uniform throughout the solution and only a single phase is visible. Example: Mixture of water and salt, Mixture of water and sugar etc.

What is a Solution?

Homogeneous mixture of two or more substances is known as solution. Carbonated drinks, lemon tea etc. are the examples of solutions.

Note:All solutions are homogeneous mixtures.

The solution is homogeneous at the microscopic level. For example, a honey lemon tea tastes exactly the same throughout. This shows that particles of honey, lemon are evenly distributed in the solution.

Solute and solvent are the two components that make up a solution.

Solute:The term "solute" refers to a substance that has been dissolved in a solvent. The amount of solute in a solvent is significantly less.

Solvent:A solvent is a substance in which the solute is dissolved. The solvent is substantially more abundant than the solute in a solution.

Examples of Solutions

Air is the most prevalent example of a solution that is all around us. It is a mixture of several gases.

An example of a liquid-solid mixture is a sugar syrup. Here, sugar is diluted in water. In this solution, the sugar crystals act as solutes whereas water acts as a solvent.

A solution can exist in solid, liquid and gaseous form.

Types of Solutions

Solutions can be subdivided into the following categories:

Types of Solution Solute Solvent Examples
Solid-Solid Solid Solid Alloys like brass and bronze
Solid-Liquid Solid Liquid Salt in water
Liquid-Solid Liquid Solid Zinc amalgam
Liquid-Liquid Liquid Liquid Methanol in water
Liquid-Gas Liquid Gas Perfumes, Aerosols
Gas-Solid Gas Solid Hydrogen gas adsorbed on the surface of platinum
Gas-Liquid Gas Liquid Oxygen in water
Gas-Gas Gas Gas Air

Properties of Solutions

  • In nature, a solution is a homogeneous mixture.
  • The particles of the solution cannot be bigger than 1nm in size.
  • The particles present in a solution cannot be seen with a naked eyes.
  • The constituents of a solution cannot be separated using mechanical methods like filtration, decanattion etc.
  • A solution is a type of mixture which is quite stable.

Difference between Mixture and Solution

Mixture Solution
In a mixture, substances are generally just mixed. They are not always dissolved. In contrast, the solutes are always dissolved in the solvent.
Here the components of a mixture are mixed disproportionately and may or may not have chemical interactions. A solution contains two or more substances that are mixed homogeneously to form a new compound and the component will have certain interactions.
The characteristics of the components may or may not change in the mixture. In case homogeneous mixtures, the characteristics will change but not in the case of heterogeneous mixtures. The characteristics of the components completely change in the solution.
The ratio of the constituents is not fixed and can differ. The ratio of the constituents is fixed and cannot differ.
The mixture can be classified into homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures. The solution falls under the category of a homogeneous mixture.
Example: Salt in water (homogenous mixture), Sand in water (heterogenous mixture) etc. Example: Alcohol in water (homogenous), alloys such as brass, bronze etc.

Practice Problems

Q1. Which of the following is not a solid solution?

A) Brass
B) Bronze
C) Sterling silver
D) Aerated drinks

Answer: D

Solution:A solid solution is a mixture of one or more solid solutes in solid solvents. Solid solutions are brass (Cu and Zn), bronze (Cu and Sn) and sterling silver (Ag and Cu) as all these are alloys of solid metals in which solvent and solute both are in solid state. Aerated beverage is an example of liquid solution where a gas (carbon dioxide) is dissolved in liquid (water).

Q2. What is a mixture?

  1. It is a combination of elements to make a new substance.
  2. It is a chemically combined substance
  3. It is a combination of substances where new substances are formed through a reaction.
  4. It is a combination of substances in where the substances do not chemically combine.

Answer: D

Solution: Mixtures are made up of two or more substances that are not chemically combined with each other.

The components of a mixture keep their original properties in the mixture. The separation of components can be easily done.The proportion of the components is variable.

Q3. Alloy is an example of:

A) Solution
C) Heterogenous mixture
B) Compound
D) None of these

Answer: A

Solution:A good example of a solid solution is alloy. An alloy is created by fusing or combining two or more metals, as well as metals and non-metals. Brass, a copper and zinc alloy, is an example of an alloy. The resulting mixture's properties are different from those of pure metals.

Q4. A homogeneous mixture of two or more components in which the particle size is smaller than 1 nm is called as a:

A) Solute
C) Solvent
B) Solution
D) Solubility

Answer: B

Solution:A solution is a homogeneous mixture. The particles of a solution are smaller than 1nm (10-9m) in diameter.

Q5. The component that dissolves the other component is known as:

B) Solution
C) Solubility
D) Solute

Answer: (A)

Solution: The component that dissolves the other component is known as solvent. The component that is dissolved in the solvent is known as solute.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Q1. What are the different types of mixture based on the size of the particles involved?

Answer:Mixtures are of different types. They are also differentiated based on the particle size of the components as follows:

Solution where the particles are too small to be seen or filtered. They mix homogeneously into a clear mixture in which the particles are too small to settle. For example a salt solution

Colloid where the particles are larger than that in solution and they can be seen. However not large enough to settle or be filtered. For example gelatin in a petri dish.

Suspension where the particles are large enough to be seen, settled and filtered. For example a soil solution

Q2. Why air is considered as a solution?

Answer: A solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances. Air is an example of a solution (gaseous solution) because it is a homogeneous mixture of different gases like oxygen, nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, etc.

Q3. Which component in a solution that has the largest quantity?

Answer:Asolution is a mixture of two or more components that is homogenous. The solvent is the substance that is present in the maximum amount, whereas the solute is the substance that is present in the least amount.

Q4. What are the two types of solutions?

Answer:There are two types of solutions based on if the solvent is water or not. Aqueous solutions are those where the solvent is water. Sugar in water, carbon dioxide in water, etc. are the examples. Non-Aqueous solutions (like sulphur dissolved in carbon disulphide) do not use water as a solvent.

Q5. What is the significance of separating materials from a mixture?

Answer:We need to separate different components of a mixture to separate the useful components from the non-useful or some harmful components.


(a) Tea leaves are separated from tea.
(b) Pebbles are separated form rice and pulse.

Related Topics

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non metals

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