Colloid (Encyclopedia of Science)
Colloids are mixtures whose particles are larger than the size of a molecule but smaller than particles that can be seen with the naked eye. Colloids are one of three major types of mixtures, the other two being solutions and suspensions. The three kinds of mixtures are distinguished by the size of the particles that make them up. The particles in a solution are about the size of molecules, approximately 1 nanometer (1 billionth of a meter) in diameter. Those that make up suspensions are larger than 1,000 nanometers. Finally, colloidal particles range in size between 1 and 1,000 nanometers. Colloids are also called colloidal dispersions because the particles of which they are made are dispersed, or spread out, through the mixture.
Types of colloids
Colloids are common in everyday life. Some examples include whipped cream, mayonnaise, milk, butter, gelatin, jelly, muddy water, plaster, colored glass, and paper.
Every colloid consists of two parts: colloidal particles and the dispersing medium. The dispersing medium is the substance in which the colloidal particles are distributed. In muddy water, for example, the colloidal particles are tiny grains of sand, silt, and clay. The dispersing medium is the water in which these particles are suspended.
Colloids can be made from almost any combination of gas, liquid, and solid....
(The entire section is 531 words.)
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