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What is the Difference Between a Homogeneous Mixture and a Heterogeneous Mixture

By Misty Thomas. Updated: January 16, 2017
What is the Difference Between a Homogeneous Mixture and a Heterogeneous Mixture

A mixture is a combination of two or more substances that are not chemically united. Mixtures can be homogeneous and heterogeneous, two terms that are very common in chemistry. If you're trying to learn more about science, you'll need to be familiar with the definition of homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures and the differences between them. If you're still a bit confused about it, don't worry, at OneHowTo we explain you what is the difference between a homogeneous mixture and a heterogeneous mixture.

What does homogeneous mean?

A homogeneous mixture is a uniform composition. In other words, homogeneous mixtures are those in which you can't tell the components apart. The most common homogeneous mixture is air, which is a combination of nitrogen, oxygen and other gases. However, there are also other common homogeneous mixtures such as sugar or salt water, vinegar and steel.

In homogeneous mixtures you cannot pick out any of its ingredients - you can't take the sugar out from sugar water - using any tool to separate them. They are the same through and through. Many have tried to use tools like a centrifuge to separate them, but no one has ever had any such luck. Also, in homogeneous mixtures, you cannot see each individual chemical that is present in it.

What is the Difference Between a Homogeneous Mixture and a Heterogeneous Mixture - What does homogeneous mean?

What does heterogeneous mean?

A heterogeneous mixture differs from a homogeneous mixture because in this case all the components can be seen. The ingredients in a heterogeneous mixture are not completely uniform, and for this reason you can tell them apart. These mixtures do not have identical parts and vary in different ways from each other.

The ingredients have very distinct parts and the chemical make ups are all very different. Even if the ingredients are in the same state of matter (liquid, gas or solid), they are still different. A few examples of heterogeneous mixtures are cereal with milk, vegetable soup, pizza, blood, gravel, ice in a soda, salad dressing, water with oil. The best way to think about these items is that you can easily take the salad dressing off of the salad or you can easily take the ice our of a soda. These items can be separated very easily and have a distinct outcome when you do so.

What is the Difference Between a Homogeneous Mixture and a Heterogeneous Mixture - What does heterogeneous mean?

Main difference between the two mixtures

The main difference between the two mixtures is that in the homogeneous you can't tell the ingredients apart whilst in the heterogeneous you can.

The world of chemistry and mixtures is more complex than the simple difference between homogeneous and heterogeneous. However, knowing the basics is key.

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