Mixtures vs Solutions | Know the Difference

 Mixtures

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You've heard about mixtures and solutions, but knowing which is which can be difficult, but after 2 minutes with me, difficult no more.

Thanks for stopping by, I’m Virgil Ricks and this is 2 Minute Classroom. Today we are talking about mixtures and solutions and the differences between them.

Let’s start with mixtures. A mixture is any combination of 2 or more substances that don’t chemically combine, that is, each substance maintains its individual properties. This includes obvious examples like a bowl of cereal or trail mix, but also more subtle examples like salt mixed in water or a soda like coke. In each case there are 2 or more substances mixed which don’t chemically combine. In the soda example, we not only have the mixture of ingredients that make up the liquid, but the carbon dioxide gas mixed in as well.

Solutions are a subtle side step from mixtures. So the last to mixture examples, salt water and soda, are also solutions. Solutions can also be defined as homogeneous mixtures, because there is an even distribution of all the substances. This means that if you took a random sample of any part of the solution, it would have the same ratio of salt to water or carbon dioxide to liquid for example. Our first two mixture examples, cereal and trail mix, are not solutions because they are not homogenous. One spoonful of cereal may have more milk than the previous one or a handful of trail mix may have a higher ratio of peanuts than the entire bag.

This means that all solutions are mixtures, but not all mixtures are solutions.

Here are a few more examples of mixtures and solutions.

It’s also important to note that solutions have a solute and a solvent. The solute is what is dissolved into the solution and the solvent is the substance, often a liquid, doing the dissolving. So in out salt water example, salt is the solute being dissolved and water is the solvent doing the dissolving.

Hopefully that gives you a good idea of what distinguishes a solution from a mixture.

Just remember, a mixture is any combination of two or more substances that don’t chemically combine and a solution is a homogeneous mixture, meaning the ratio of substances is uniform throughout the mixture.

Date Added: 2020-12-18

Category: Mixtures

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