How will you know whether the given mixture is a homogenous mixture or a heterogeneous mixture?

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mlsiasebs eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous answer includes great advice for using your senses to make observations. From these observations, we can apply what we know about the definitions of heterogenous and homogeneous mixtures to determine which one is the appropriate label.

Heterogeneous mixtures are those in which the composition varies throughout the sample.  While a homogeneous mixture is the same throughout.  If you are on an exam, the best thing to do is imagine that you are collecting a sample from three different parts of the container.  If all three will be the same, then you are looking at a homogenous mixture.  If they are different, then you have a heterogenous mixture. 

Let's look at salt water. Once the salt dissolves, the particles are spread throughout the water.  Regardless of where I examine the solution, it will look the same so it is homogeneous solution.  If I look at something like muddy water, I will see differences in the mixture depending on whether I look at the top (mainly water), the middle (mix of dirt and water), or at the botoom (more dirt than water).  The different composition at different points of the solution means that it is heterogenous.


jenniferjcthompson | Student

Hello Akshaybhaskar I claim that the easiest way by which to distinguish is to use all of the senses:Sight,smell,touch,hearing,taste,

Solubility / dissolvability also indicates a distinctive difference. Substances are seldom tasted but taste and odour indicate a distinct difference;in addition density, size of individual particles of  either one as mere substance, a substrate /admixture or compound, poultice, grit or grout. Homogeny is of similar type and form ; heterogeny is of different type and form.You must also consider texture,density and form of each type of substance on its own/ independently or when  combined.The distinctions become more difficult to isolate with the increase in the number of substances mixed.A useful guide is the above.


jenniferjcthompson | Student

Good day Akshaybhaskar;There are distinct guidelines or measures written into law that indicates necessary and permissable procedures with respect to various substances:infectious,contagious,hazardous /harmful or alternately safe substances.

The latter discussion informs general management of substances.The information provided accross your entire posting is a usful consolidation that would allow you to manage all substances effectively.With respect to hazardous / dangerous substances;substances of risk or substances with inherent risk- these are usually identifiable as with e.g. radio-active -sealed containers that might have leaked;registration details; documentation about the transfer of such substances; witnesses of provision or delivery and receipt etc. Additionally the substances are generally pungent,colour-luminiscent or vivid,corrosive not contained easily difficult to manage; As for the rest, substances presumed with minimal or no risk-the prerogative is yours ensuring that  you achieve your goals. The Lord bless you, Jennifer

akshaybhaskar | Student

Thankyou.....Your Giudence has been a great help to me........But what if you get substances of which you are not familiar with.????


akshaybhaskar | Student

Thanks a lot Jennifer.....But i had another doubt i.e. How do you know that the compound is homo or hetero when asked in the examination....


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