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Mixture – Definition, Characteristics, Properties, Classification, Examples, Practice Problems and FAQ

On a sweltering summer day, how do you enjoy your lemonade?

Do not we all enjoy a lemonade?

But how do we go about preparing it?

It is very simple. Our lemonade will be ready once we have extracted some lemon juice and combined it with some water and sugar. Depending on our preference, we can change the ratios of sugar, water, and lemon juice. No matter the ratio of ingredients combined, we end up with lemonade.

When water is created in nature, can we still exercise the same liberty?

Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom make up a water molecule. Is it possible to change the proportion of hydrogen to oxygen in a water molecule?

Obviously not. In the mass ratio of 1:8, hydrogen and oxygen make up the substance known as water. While water is a substance made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a fixed proportion, lemonade is a mixture made up of diverse substances that do not combine chemically and can be mixed in any quantity.

So, what exactly are a compound and a mixture?

On this concept page, we will learn more about mixtures in particular.


Mixtures – Definition

A mixture is a substance made of two or more additional chemical compounds or substances that do not chemically combine. The only way for two or more substances to maintain their individual identities when combined in the form of solutions, suspensions, or colloids is through physical mixing. Physical means can be used to separate them. The different components of any mixture are not created through any kind of chemical chemistry. As a result, each component's unique properties are unaltered.

In other words, a mixture is something you get when you combine two things, allowing you to separate them again without causing a chemical reaction. Every component in a mixture maintains its unique chemical identity. It is understandable that mixtures are the result of mechanically blending the elements or compounds without any chemical bonding occurring, and all the elements involved in the mixing process retain their original chemical characteristics. The components of a mixture are typically combined mechanically, but other methods may give a mixture (e.g., diffusion, osmosis).

A mixture may possess unexpected physical properties in contrast to both of its components even though each component is unaltered. For instance, when alcohol and water are combined, the resultant substance has a different melting and boiling point than either of the individual components.

Mixture – Examples


Dispersed Phase




Dispersion medium


Homogeneous: Alloys

Heterogenous: Sand

Homogenous: Amalgam

Heterogenous: Agar Solution

Homogenous: Presence of hydrogen gas in metals

Heterogenous: Styrofoam


Homogenous: Salt in water

Heterogenous: Sand in water

Homogenous: Alcohol in water.

Heterogenous: Oil in water

Homogenous: Bubbling oxygen in the water

Heterogeneous: Whipped Cream


Heterogenous: Soot in air

Heterogenous: Deodorants (liquid aerosol)

Homogenous: Air

All the things present around us that occupy space and belong to this universe are composed of matter. Matter can be further classified into pure substances and mixtures. A substance is a chemical combination of atoms that are formed by breaking and making bonds between them. These substances can either be elements or compounds. Elements are made up of only a single type of atom and are a part of the periodic table, whereas compounds are composed of two or more elements.

A mixture is a type of matter that is a physical combination of atoms and molecules. Unlike compounds, mixtures have no chemical bonds present in them. An example of a mixture is air; it is a combination of various gases.

Mixture – Characteristics

  • As none of the components of a mixture has chemical interactions between them, components of a mixture can generally be separated by physical means.
  • The chemical properties of components are retained in a mixture, as they do not form any chemical bonds.
  • In a mixture, the components need not be present in definite concentrations.
  • The formation of a mixture is not associated with any change in energy or enthalpy, unlike the formation of a new compound.
  • The boiling and melting temperatures of individual components are the parameters that are affected by the formation of a mixture.

Differentiating Property




It is possible to combine two or more elements chemically to create substances known as compounds.

Physical mixing of two or more substances produces mixtures, which are different substances.


Substances that are pure are compounds.

Mixtures are a subcategory of impure substances.


Covalent compounds, metallic compounds, and ionic compounds are the three different types of compounds.

There are two main categories of mixtures: homogeneous mixtures and heterogeneous mixtures.


Compounds' composition is always constant.

A mixture's constituent substances can vary in composition.


By their very nature, compounds are homogeneous.

Both homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures are possible.

Separation technique

There are only two ways to separate a compound's components: chemically or electrochemically (like extraction).

Physical separation techniques, such as filtration, can be used to separate mixtures into their component parts. As a result, mixture separation is less difficult than chemical compound separation.


Compounds have unique characteristics that need not correspond to the characteristics of the individual constituent elements.

The properties of a mixture are typically the sum of the properties of its constituents because the constituents of a mixture do not lose their properties when combined.

Formation of new substance

The components are chemically combined to create a new substance. A compound, therefore, differs from its component parts in terms of its properties.

In mixtures, no new substances are created; instead, their properties depend on those of the individual constituents.

Melting points and boiling points

A compound's melting and boiling points are always known.

A mixture's melting and boiling points are not specified.


Salt, baking soda, water, etc.

Smog (smoke + fog), sand and water, oil and water, etc.

Mixture – Classification

Based on the composition, mixtures can be classified into homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures.

Homogenous Mixtures

Homogeneous mixtures are those with a constant composition throughout the substance. For instance, air, lemonade, soft drink water, a mixture of salt and water, a mixture of sugar and water, and so forth. The mixture of salt and water serves as a prime illustration here. This is due to the fact that salt and water cannot be separated at this point. The path of light is invisible when a beam of light strikes a solution of salt and water.

Properties of Homogeneous Mixtures

  • Every single solution is an example of a homogeneous mixture.
  • The particles in this scenario are smaller than one nanometer in size.
  • They fail to show Tyndall's effect.
  • The boundaries of particles are not separable.
  • Centrifugation or decantation cannot be used to separate the constituent particles in this situation.

Heterogenous Mixture

Heterogeneous mixtures are ones that do not have any consistent internal components. Mixtures that do not have a uniform composition, such as soil and sand, sulphur and iron filings, oil and water, etc., are heterogeneous. This is due to the fact that it has two or more distinct phases in this situation.

Properties of Heterogenous Mixture

  • With the exception of solutions and alloys, the majority of mixtures are heterogeneous.
  • The presence of the constituent particles is not uniform.
  • Effective distinctions can be made between the parts.
  • In a heterogeneous mixture, at least two stages are typically available.
  • The particles in this situation range in size from one nanometer to one micrometre.
  • They show the Tyndall effect.

Based on the size of the particle or substance, mixtures can be classified into solution, colloids and suspensions.


A solution contains minute particles with a particle size of less than 1 nanometer. By centrifuging or decanting the mixture, components of a solution cannot be separated. Air is an example of a solution.


Without magnification, a colloid mixture appears uniform, but when viewed under a microscope, you can see that it is not. Colloids have molecules with sizes ranging from 1 nanometer to 1 micrometre. A centrifuge can separate the various components of a colloid. Hair spray is an example of a colloid because the fluid is airborne and condenses with a gas. Colloids exhibit the Tyndall effect. The scattering of light by the particles present in a colloid is called the Tyndall effect.


A suspension has larger particles than the two mixtures mentioned above i.e. solutions and colloids. The mixture occasionally appears to be a mix of things. In suspensions, stabilising agents prevent the particles from naturally isolating from one another. Isolating the components of suspensions is possible using centrifugation or decantation. Salad dressing made with vinegar and water is an example of a case of suspension. While the water drifts to complete the process, the heavier dressing component separates and sinks to the compartment's base.

Practice Problems

Q1. Milk is an example of which of the following mixtures?

A. Solution
B. Suspension
C. Compound
D. Colloid

Answer: D

Solution: Milk is a colloid, despite having the appearance of being a homogeneous mixture, because it contains tiny globules of protein and fat that do not separate out after standing due to the (typically negatively) charged particles.

So, option D is the correct answer.

Q2. Which of the following is not an example of a mixture?

A. Oil and water
B. Sand and water
C. Smog
D. Baking soda

Answer: D

Solution: A mixture is a substance made of two or more additional chemical compounds or substances that do not chemically combine. Examples of mixtures are Smog (smoke + fog), sand and water, oil and water, etc.

Baking soda is a compound because it is made up of various atoms like sodium, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen that are chemically bonded together. A compound in chemistry is a substance that is composed of two or more types of atoms that chemically bond.

So, option D is the correct answer.

Q3. A mixture where the solid does not dissolve in the liquid is called ________.

A. Solution
B. Colloid
C. Alloy
D. None of the above

Answer: B
Solution: One of the three main categories of mixtures is a colloid, the other two are solutions and suspensions. A colloid is a mixture of particles with diameters between 1 and 1000 nanometers that can still maintain their uniform distribution in the solution.

So, option B is the correct answer.

Q4. Which of the following is not an example of a homogenous mixture?

A. Water
B. Wine
C. Vinegar
D. Water and oil

Answer: D
Solution: Homogeneous mixtures are those with a constant composition throughout the substance. For instance, air, lemonade, soft drink water, a mixture of salt and water, a mixture of sugar and water, and so forth. Water, wine and vinegar are examples of homogenous mixtures. When water and oil are combined, they do not mix equally but rather separate into two layers. Therefore, the oil-water mixture is heterogeneous.

So, option D is the correct answer.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Q1. Are gold jewellery compounds or mixtures?
Due to the fact that pure gold only contains the atom type aurum, it is an element (Au). However, because gold jewellery is made up of a variety of elements in varying proportions, it is a mixture.

Q2. Can you separate mixtures?
Answer: Using techniques like evaporation, distillation, filtration, and chromatography, which use differences in the components of a mixture's physical properties to separate them, mixtures can be physically separated.

Q3. How important are mixtures in our daily life?
Answer: We frequently encounter mixtures and solutions in our daily lives. They are the materials that make up our clothing, our food, and the air we breathe.

Q4. Is blood a mixture?
Answer: The plasma, platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells that makeup blood are all different types of cells. Blood can be separated into its component parts through the pheresis process, which clearly demonstrates its heterogeneous nature.

Related Topics

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Difference between alkali and base

Physical and Chemical changes

Chemical composition


Difference between mixtures and solutions

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