Mixtures and Solutions

A solution or a mixture? 

Here is what you need to remember so that you don’t get confused!


A mixture is made when two or more substances are combined, but they are not combined chemically.

General properties of a mixture:

  • The components of a mixture can be easily separated
  • The components each keep their original properties
  • The proportion of the components is variable

A solution is a mixture where one of the substances dissolves in the other.

The substance that dissolves is called the solute. The substance that does not dissolve is called the solvent.

An example of a solution is salt water. These components can be easily separated through evaporation and they each retain their original properties. However, the salt is dissolved into the water to where you can’t see it and it is evenly distributed in the water. In this example the water is the solvent and the salt is the solute.


In chemistry a solution is actually a type of mixture. A solution is a mixture that is the same or uniform throughout. Think of the example of salt water.

A mixture that is not a solution is not uniform throughout. Think of the example of sand in water.

Interesting Facts about Mixtures
  • Smoke is a mixture of particles that are suspended in the air.
  • Tap water is a mixture of water and other particles. Pure water or H2O is generally referred to as distilled water.
  • Many of the substances we come into contact with every day are mixtures including the air we breathe which is a mixture of gases like oxygen and nitrogen.
  • Blood is a mixture that can be separated by a machine called a centrifuge into its two main parts: plasma and red blood cells.
  • Mixtures can be liquids, gases, and solids.


Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

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