What is A Mixture in Chemistry | Types, Examples

Definition of Mixture

In chemistry, when two or more substances mix with each other without participating in a chemical change, the resulting substance is called a Mixture.


what is mixture

The result formed due to the combination of substances does not lose its individuality nor are they combined chemically. Mixtures are the one product of a mechanical blending or mixing of chemical substances such as elements and compounds. A mixture is a material system made up of two or more different substances, which are mixed but not combined chemically.

A mixture refers to the physical combination of two or more substances. In which the identities of the individual substances are retained. Mixtures take the form of alloys, solutions, suspensions, and colloids.

Mixtures and solutions are a common occurrence in our everyday lives. They are the air we breathe, the drinks and foods we consume and the fabrics we clothe ourselves in.

By studying how chemists distinguish pure substances from mixtures and solutions, students will start to appreciate how matter is organized at the atomic level. With this knowledge, we can manipulate matter to improve our health and quality of life. This is different from a compound, which consists of substances in fixed proportions.

The substances in a mixture also do not combine chemically to form a new substance, as they do in a compound. Instead, they just intermingle and keep their original properties.

General Properties of Mixture

Mixtures are made up of two or more substances that are not chemically combined with each other. The properties of mixtures are listed below.

  • The components of a mixture each keep their original properties.
  • The separation of components can be easily done.
  • They have a variable composition.
  • The proportion of the components is variable.
  • They have no definite properties
  • They can be separated by physical methods.

Examples of Mixture

  • Crude Oil: Mixtures of organic compounds (mainly hydrocarbons)
  • Seawater: A mixture of various salt and water.
  • Air: A mixture of various gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, neon, etc.
  • Ink: A mixture of coloured dyes.
  • Gunpowder: A mixture of sulfur, potassium nitrate and carbon.
  • Flour and sugar may be combined to form a mixture.
  • Sugar and water form a mixture.
  • Marbles and salt may be combined to form a mixture.
  • Smoke is a mixture of solid particles and gases.

Examples of Substances Which Are Not The Mixtures

Just because you mix two chemicals together, don’t expect you’ll always get a mixture! If a chemical reaction occurs, the identity of a reactant changes. This is not a mixture.

Combining vinegar and baking soda results in a reaction to produce carbon dioxide and water. So, you don’t have a mixture.

Combining an acid and a base also does not produce a mixture.

Characteristics of Mixture

Mixtures can be characterized by being separable by mechanical means e.g. heat, filtration, gravitational sorting, centrifugation etc.

Mixtures can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous.

A mixture in which constituents are distributed uniformly is called homogeneous, such as salt in water, otherwise it is called heterogeneous, such as sand in water.

One example of a mixture is air. Air is a homogeneous mixture of the gaseous substances nitrogen, oxygen, and smaller amounts of other substances.

Salt, sugar, and many other substances dissolve in water to form homogeneous mixtures. A homogeneous mixture in which there is both a solute and solvent present is also a solution. Mixtures can have any amounts of ingredients.

Mixtures are unlike chemical compounds, because

  • The substances in a mixture can be separated using physical methods such as filtration, freezing, and distillation.
  • There is little or no energy change when a mixture forms (see Enthalpy of mixing).
  • Mixtures have variable compositions, while compounds have a fixed, definite formula.
  • When mixed, individual substances keep their properties in a mixture, while if they form a compound their properties can change.
  • There is no chemical force acting between the two or more substances that are mixed, but they still exist together.
  • They can either be heterogeneous or homogeneous in nature.
  • The proportions of the substances vary in an indefinite manner.
  • The properties of the mixtures depending upon the individual components.
  • The constituents of the mixtures can be separated by physical methods.
  • Boiling point and the melting point of the mixture depends upon the characteristic of the constituents.
  • During the formation of a mixture, there is no change in energy.
  • All the states of matter (solid, liquid, gases) can combine to form mixtures.

Types of Mixture

types of mixture

There are two types of mixtures-Homogeneous and Heterogeneous. Heterogeneous mixtures have visually distinguishable components, while homogeneous mixtures appear uniform throughout.

Homegeneous Mixture

homogeneous mixture

Mixtures having uniform composition all through the substance are called Homogeneous mixtures.

For instance- a mixture of salt and water, a mixture of sugar and water, air, lemonade, soft drink water, and so on.

Here, a classical example is the mixture of salt and water. This is on the grounds that here, the limit, among
salt and water can never be separated. At the point when a beam of light is incident on the mixtures of salt and water, the path of light isn’t seen.

Properties of Homogeneous Mixture

  • All solutions are the instances of a homogenous mixture.
  • The size of the particles in such a case is less than one nanometer.
  • They don’t demonstrate Tyndall impact.
  • You can’t separate the boundaries of particles.
  • You can’t separate the constituent particles here utilizing centrifugation or decantation.
  • Alloys are the instances of a solution.

Read full article on Homogeneous Mixtures- Homogeneous Mixtures

Heterogeneous Mixture

heterogeneous mixture

Mixtures that are not uniform all through are called heterogeneous mixture.

Along these lines, A mixture of soil and sand, Sulphur and iron filings, oil and water and so on are heterogeneous as they don’t have a uniform composition. This is on the grounds that in such cases it has two or more distinct phases.

Properties of Heterogeneous Mixture

  • 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 mixture.
  • The size of the particles here is in the range of one nanometer to one micrometer.
  • They demonstrate the Tyndall effect.

Read full article on Heterogeneous Mixtures- Heterogeneous Mixtures

Based on the particle size of the components or substances, mixtures are further classified into solution, a colloid, and a suspension.


Solution, in chemistry, a homogenous mixture of two or more substances in relative amounts that can be varied continuously up to what is called the limit of solubility. The term solution is commonly applied to the liquid state of matter, but solutions of gases and solids are possible.

For Example Air is a solution consisting chiefly of oxygen and nitrogen with trace amounts of several other gases, and brass is a solution composed of copper and zinc.

A solution is a homogeneous mixture of one or more solutes dissolved in a solvent.

  • Solvent: The substance in which a solute dissolves to produce a homogeneous mixture.
  • Solute: The substance that dissolves in a solvent to produce a homogeneous mixture.

Note that the solvent is the substance that is present in the greatest amount.


Colloids (also known as colloidal solutions or colloidal systems) are mixtures in which microscopically dispersed insoluble particles of one substance are suspended in another substance.

The size of the suspended particles in a colloid can range from 1 to 1000 nanometres (10-9metres).

For a mixture to be classified as a colloid, its suspended particles must not settle (in the manner that the particles of suspensions settle at the bottom of the container if left undisturbed).

Colloidal solutions are known to exhibit the Tyndall Effect, which is a phenomenon in which beams of light incident on colloids are scattered due to the interactions between the light and the colloidal particles.

The IUPAC definition of the colloidal state can be written as follows: “The colloidal state is the state of subdivision in which molecules or polymolecular particles having at least one dimension in the range of 1 nanometer and 1 micrometre, are dispersed in some medium“.

Colloids usually feature substances that are evenly dispersed in another. In such mixtures, the substance that is dispersed is referred to as the dispersed phase whereas the substance through which it is dispersed is called the continuous phase.


A suspension is defined as a heterogeneous mixture in which the solid particles are spread throughout the liquid without dissolving in it.

A suspension is defined as a homogenous mixture of particles with a diameter greater than 1000 nm such that the particles are visible to naked eyes. In this type of mixture, all the components are completely mixed and all the particles can be seen under a microscope.

A suspension is a heterogeneous mixture containing solid particles that are sufficiently large for sedimentation.

If we take a glass full of water and mix mud in it, it will form a heterogeneous mixture. We can easily identify the components of these mixtures. After some time we will observe that particles of mud settle down due to gravity. The particles in suspension are larger than the particles in a solution.

Properties of Suspension

  • A suspension is a heterogeneous mixture.
  • The size of solute particles in a suspension is quite large. It is larger than 100 mm in diameter.
  • The particles of a suspension can be seen easily.
  • The particles of a suspension do not pass through a filter paper. So a suspension can be separated by filtration.
  • The suspension is unstable. The particles of a suspension settle down after some time.
  • A suspension scatters a beam of light passing through it because of its large particle size.

Seperation of a Mixture

Not everyone is out searching for gold (and not many of those searchers is going to get much gold, either). In a chemical reaction, it is important to isolate the component(s) of interest from all the other materials so they can be further characterized.

Studies of biochemical systems, environmental analysis, pharmaceutical research – these and many other areas of research require reliable separation methods.

Here are the numbers of common separation techniques:


chromatography process in chemistry

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 in chemistry

A Distillation process is an effective method to separate mixtures comprised of two or more pure liquids.

Distillation is a purification process where the components of a liquid mixtures are vaporized and then condensed and isolated.

In simple distillation, a mixture is heated and the most volatile comp onent 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 in chemistry

Evaporation is a technique used to separate out homogenous mixtures where there is one or more dissolved solids. This 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.

This 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 in chemistry

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 mixtures. 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 length of which is on the o rder of 1 micron. Other mixtures, like soil, have relatively large particle sizes, which can be filtered through something like a coffee filter.

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