Heterogeneous and homogeneous refer to mixtures of materials in chemistry. The difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures is the degree at which the materials are mixed together and the uniformity of their composition.
A homogeneous mixture is a mixture where the components that make up the mixture are uniformly distributed throughout the mixture. The composition of the mixture is the same throughout.
There is only one phase of matter observed in a homogeneous mixture.
Homogeneous Mixture Examples
- sugar water
- rain water
- dishwashing detergent
You can’t pick out components of a homogeneous mixture or use a simple mechanical means to separate them. You can’t see individual chemicals or ingredients in this type of mixture. Only one phase of matter is present in a homogeneous mixture.
A heterogeneous mixture is a mixture where the components of the mixture are not uniform or have localized regions with different properties. Different samples from the mixture are not identical to each other. There are always two or more phases in a heterogeneous mixture, where you can identify a region with properties that are distinct from those of another region, even if they are the same state of matter (.e.g., liquid, solid).
Heterogeneous Mixture Examples
- cereal in milk
- vegetable soup
- ice in soda
- salad dressing
- mixed nuts
- bowl of colored candies
Usually, it’s possible to physically separate components of a heterogeneous mixture.
For example, you can centrifuge (spin out) solid blood cells to separate them from the plasma of blood. You can remove ice cubes from soda. You can separate candies according to color.