What is Heterogeneous Mixture in Chemistry | Examples

Definition of Heterogeneous Mixture

what is heterogeneous mixture

Any mixture that contains more than one phase of matter is a heterogeneous mixture. Type of mixture in which all the components are completely mixed and all the particles can be seen under a microscope. We can easily identify the components and more than one phase can be seen by naked eyes.

Characteristics of Heterogeneous Mixture

characteristics of heterogeneous mixture
  • Heterogeneous mixtures are not uniform. If you take two samples from different parts of the mixture, they will not have an identical composition. You can use a mechanical method to separate components of a heterogeneous mixture (e.g. sorting candies in a bowl or filtering rocks to separate them from sand).
  • Sometimes these mixtures are obvious, where you can see different types of materials in a sample. For example, if you have a salad, you can see different sizes and shapes and types of vegetables. In other cases, you need to look more closely to recognize this mixture. Any mixture that contains more than one phase of matter is a heterogeneous mixture.
  • This can be tricky because a change of conditions can alter a mixture. For example, an unopened soda in a bottle has a uniform composition and is a homogeneous mixture. Once you open the bottle, bubbles appear in the liquid. The bubbles from carbonation are gasses, while the majority of the soda is liquid. An opened can of soda is an example of a heterogeneous mixture.
  • Oil and water do not mix, instead forming two distinct layers called phases. The oil phase is less dense than the water phase and so the oil floats on top of the water.
  • In the vegetable soup example, one phase would be the liquid soup itself. This phase has vitamins, minerals, and other components dissolved in the water. This phase would be homogeneous. The carrots, peas, corn, or other vegetables represent other phases of the soup. The various vegetables are not mixed evenly mixed in the soup, but are spread around at random.

Key Points Regarding This Type of Mixture:

  • Particles are distributed non uniformly.
  • We can judge a heterogeneous mixture by just seeing it.
  • Non-uniform composition.
  • Example: seawater, pizza, etc.


Followings are the example of heterogeneous mixture based on solid, liquid and gas

examples of heterogeneous mixture

Heterogeneous Solid Mixture Examples

The whole world is a solid heterogeneous mixture! Solid heterogeneous mixtures can contain liquid or gaseous components, but as a whole, they act like solids.

  • Mixed Nuts Mixed nuts at a party are a type of heterogeneous mixture, which can be separated into individual parts. Simply sort the mixture into separate piles for each type of nut, and you have broken down a heterogeneous mixture into its component parts.
  • Rocks in Sand – Rocks in the sand at the beach are a heterogeneous mixture. Natural processes have mixed up sand, stones, shells, and even living things, scattering them across the beach as a mixture.
  • Salad – A salad with lettuce, cheese, seeds, tomatoes, broccoli, and other vegetables is an example of a heterogeneous mixture. Each different piece of the salad can be separated into different parts with minimal effort.
  • Soil – Soil is an example of a heterogeneous mixture. It combines many different components which are not uniform, such as stone, clay, decaying plant material, and even living things.

Heterogeneous Liquid Mixture Examples

When a mixture contains multiple distinct components, but the whole mixture acts like a liquid, that is a liquid heterogeneous mixture. Here are some examples:

  • Vinaigrette Salad Dressing – A bottle of balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing is a mixture that is heterogeneous, consisting primarily of oil and vinegar. You can (and should!) shake up a vinaigrette to make the mixture appear and taste more combined, but it will always separate into its component parts when left alone.
  • Ice Cubes in a Drink – When you first put ice cubes into a glass of water or tea, it is a heterogeneous mixture. There are two distinct parts, the ice and the tea or water.
  • Oil and Water – When you put oil and water together they do not mix. Therefore, these are a heterogeneous mixture since they are two separate parts.
  • Mud Puddle – Mud puddles are a heterogeneous mixtures. Dirt, leaves and all sorts of other runoff mixes with rainwater and pools into a mixture where the component parts can be clearly seen or separated.

Heterogeneous Gaseous Mixture Examples

Some heterogeneous mixtures are primarily gaseous. Gaseous mixtures may contain liquids or even solids, but as a whole, they act like a gas.

  • Fog – Mist and fog can be considered heterogeneous mixtures, as tiny droplets of water hang visibly in the air. You can see and walk through the fog.
  • Smog – Smog is a heterogeneous mixture of various particles and pollutants suspended in the air. The dirty particles that make up the smog can be removed from the air and breathed into the lungs, making smog quite a problematic heterogeneous mixture.
  • Smoke – Smoke from a fire is another heterogeneous mixture, combining chemicals from the fire’s fuel and CO2 from the oxidation process with the air surrounding the flame.
  • Clouds – You can see clouds in the sky because it’s a heterogeneous mixture. Water vapor goes up into the sky and mixes with air creating visible clouds.

Properties of Heterogeneous Mixture

Properties of Heterogeneous Mixture are –

  • Most of the mixtures are heterogeneous aside from solutions and alloys.
  • The constituent particles are not present uniformly here.
  • You can distinguish the components effectively.
  • Generally, at least two stages are available in a heterogenous mixtures.
  • The size of the particles here is in the range of one nanometer to one micrometer.
  • They demonstrate the Tyndall effect.
  • Most of the mixtures are heterogeneous except solutions and alloys.
  • The constituent particles are present uniformly.
  • The components of a heterogeneous mixture can be identified easily.
  • Generally, two or more phases are present in heterogeneous mixtures.
  • Particles of a heterogeneous mixture are sized between one nanometer and one micrometer or more.
  • The different phases mix together, but are physically separate. In other words, they retain their own chemical identity.
  • Samples taken from different parts of the mixture may have a different composition.

Sepration of Heterogeneous Mixture

Followings are the methods for separation


chromatography process

Chromatography is the separation of a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension, or as a vapor (as in gas chromatography), through a medium in which the components move at different rates. Thin-layer chromatography is a special type of chromatography used for separating and identifying mixtures that are or can be colored, especially pigments.


distillation process

The Distillation process is an effective method to separate mixtures that are comprised of two or more pure liquids. Distillation is a purification process where the components of a liquid mixture are vaporized and then condensed and isolated.

In simple distillation, a mixture is heated and the most volatile component vaporizes at the lowest temperature. The vapor passes through a cooled tube (a condenser), where it condenses back into its liquid state. The condensate that is collected is called distillate.


evaporation process

Evaporation is a technique used to separate out homogeneous mixtures that contain one or more dissolved salts. The method drives off the liquid components from the solid components. The process typically involves heating the mixture until no more liquid remains. Prior to using this method, the mixture should only contain one liquid component, unless it is not important to isolate the liquid components. This is because all liquid components will evaporate over time.

The evaporation method is suitable to separate a soluble solid from a liquid. In many parts of the world, table salt is obtained from the evaporation of sea water. The heat for the process comes from the sun.


filtration process

Filtration is a separation method used to separate out pure substances in mixtures comprised of particles some of which are large enough in size to be captured with a porous material. Particle size can vary considerably, given the type of mixture. For instance, stream water is a mixture that contains naturally occurring biological organisms like bacteria, viruses, and protozoans. Some water filters can filter out bacteria, the lengthof which are on the order of 1 micron.

Other mixtures, like soil, have relatively large particle sizes, which can be filtered through something like a coffee filter.

So this is all about heterogeneous mixtures. I hope you like the article.

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