Chemical suspensions are a heterogeneous mixture formed by a solute that is insoluble in solution. Suspensions are unstable solutions, since the solute has the property of settling over time.

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But what exactly is a suspension? It is a heterogeneous two-phase system in which the solute forms a dispersed solid phase in a liquid medium or a dispersed phase. This dispersed phase can be a gas or a gas mixture in which the solid particles remain suspended.

The solute in the suspension contains solid particles larger than those in the real solution and the colloid; therefore it is at the end of the larger particle size for these substances (true solution 1 Characteristics of suspension1.1 Physics1.2 Settlement time1.3 Stability2 Composition2.1 Dispersion phase2.2 Dispersion phase dispersion2.3 Surfactant3 Difference between suspension, colloid and true solution 4 types 4.1 – By means of dispersion4.2 – Depends on settling capacity 4.3 -Depends on route suspension management5 examples5.1 In the wild5.2 In the kitchen5.3 In the pharmaceutical industry5.4 Sand glass vs star glass6 references

Characteristics of the suspension

There are many characteristics that allow the suspension to be defined and clearly distinguished from the real solutions and colloids:


It is a heterogeneous system consisting of two phases: a solid interior and an outer formed by liquid or dispersed phase.

The solid phase contains a solute that is insoluble in the dispersed liquid, and thus remains free-floating or suspended. This implies that the solute is maintained, from a physical and chemical point of view, apart from the liquid phase.

The particles that make up the solute are generally solid, large in size and visible to the naked eye.

The size of the solute particles in the suspension is close to or larger than 1 micron (1 m).

-Due to its size, weight, and with the passage of time, the solute tends to settle.

Suspensions are characterized by easily resuspended and rapidly homogenized after mechanical agitation.

–To keep the suspension stable, the pharmaceutical industry often adds surfactants, stabilizers or thickeners.

-The suspensions have a cloudy appearance, they are not clear or transparent; as identical solutions.

Components of heterogeneous mixtures, such as suspensions, can be separated by applying physical methods such as filtration.

Settlement time

Perhaps one of the first questions that must be asked about Riclix.v, whether a substance is suspended or colloidal, is the time it takes for the solute to settle. In real solutions, the solute will never form a precipitate (assuming the solvent is not volatile).

For example

, if sugar is dissolved in water and the unsaturated solution is kept sealed to prevent solvent leakage, no sugar crystals will form in the bottom of the container. The same goes for colorful solutions of different indices or salts (like CuSO45H2O).

In suspensions, however, the solute ends up grouping itself at a certain time, and due to the increase of its interactions, it settles in the background. Therefore, they last for a very short period of time.

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Another example is found in the redox reactions in which KMnO participates4, dark purple. By reducing or gaining electrons, oxidizing the chemical species of interest, a brown precipitate of MnO is formed2 which remains suspended in the reaction medium; very small brown seeds.

After a certain time (minutes, hours, days), suspends MnO2 in liquid it ends up depositing in the background like a “brown carpet”.


The stability of suspensions is related to their resistance to changes in their properties over time. This stability is achieved with the control of several factors including:

The suspensions must be easily recovered by mechanical agitation. control the viscosity of the dispersion, reducing the deposition of solute; therefore, the viscosity must be high.

The smaller the particle size of the solid phase, the greater the stability of the suspension.

-Incorporation into suspensions of substances such as surfactants, emulsifiers or antifreeze is useful. This is done to reduce agglomeration or flocculation of particles of the inner phase or solid particles.

-Riclix.v Continuous temperature control must be maintained during the preparation, distribution, storage and use of suspensions. To ensure their stability, it is important not to expose them to sudden temperature changes.


As a two-phase system, the suspension consists of two components: the dissolved or dispersed phase and the dispersed phase.

Dispersion stage

The dissolved or dispersed phase is formed by solid particles in a suspension mixture. It is insoluble, because it is lyophobic; that is, the solvent authored by its difference in polarity. The more dense the solute, the shorter its settling time and the longer the life of the suspension.

Likewise, when dissolved particles loathe the solvent, they tend to cluster together to form larger aggregates; enough for their size to stop on the order of microns, as mentioned earlier. And then gravity does the rest: it pulls them down.

This is where the stable of the suspension lies. If the aggregates are in a viscous medium, it will be more difficult for them to interact with each other.

Dispersion stage

The dispersion of the suspension or the outer phase is, in general, liquid in nature, however, it can be gaseous. The components of the suspension can be separated by physical processes such as filtration, evaporation, decolorization or centrifugation.

The dispersed phase is characterized by smaller and more dynamic molecules; however, by increasing its viscosity, it prevents suspended solutes from agglomerating and settling.


Suspensions may contain surfactants or other dispersants to prevent particles of the solid phase from settling. In addition, stabilizers can be added to the suspension, increasing the solubility and preventing spoilage of the particles.

If it is hypothesized that a specific gas that fulfills this function can be added to the powder room, all dust will be removed from the objects after re-hanging; and so it will be enough to blow fresh air to remove all the dust.

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Difference between suspension, colloid and true solution.

It is important to highlight some of the differences between suspensions, colloids, and real solutions to better understand their composition.

-The real colloid and solution are homogeneous mixtures, and therefore have one (visible) phase; while suspension is a heterogeneous mixture.

-Another difference between them lies in the size of the particles. In a real solution the size of the particles ranges from 1 to 10 and they are soluble in the solvent.

-In real solutions, the solute is no longer solid, it dissolves forming a single phase. Colloids are a kind of intermediate mixture between real solutions and suspensions.

A colloid is a homogeneous mixture, formed by solutes whose particles range in size from 10 to 10,000. In both colloids and suspensions, the solute remains solid and insoluble.

The solute of the colloid remains suspended in the dispersed phase, has no tendency to settle and is invisible to the naked eye. Milk is one of many examples of colloidal solutions. In suspensions, the solute tends to settle and can be seen with the naked eye or with an optical microscope.


There are different types of suspensions that can be classified according to dispersion medium or phase, settling capacity; and in terms of pharmacology, depending on the route of administration.

-By distributed media

Suspension dispersion media are generally liquid, however gaseous media are also available.

Mechanical Suspension

They are the most common suspensions, formed by solid-liquid phases, described; like sand in a container of water. However, there are suspensions such as aerosols described below.


This is a type of suspension formed by fine solid particles plus liquid droplets suspended in a gas. Examples of this suspension are found in the atmosphere and its layers of dust and ice.

-Depending on sedimentation capacity

There are suspensions which, according to their sedimentation capacity, can be classified into suspended and agglomerated suspensions.


In this type of suspension, the repulsion between the particles is important and they are kept separate, without flocculation. During the initial phase of suspension formation, no aggregate is formed.

The settling rate of solute is slow and it is difficult to rejoin the sediment once it has formed. In other words, even if they are agitated, the particles will not be suspended anymore; this happens especially with gelatin solids, like Fe(OH)3.


They are suspensions in which there is very little repulsion between the solute particles and they tend to form flocs. The settling rate of the solid phase is fast and the formed sediment is easy to regenerate.

-Depending on administrative suspension

There are oral suspensions that are easy to administer and are generally milky in color. There is also a suspension for topical use, which is presented in the form of a cream, ointment, emollient, protective agent, which is applied to the skin or mucous membranes.

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There are suspensions that can be applied by injection, and aerosols, such as salbutamol, which is a bronchodilator.


There are many examples of suspensions in nature, in products and foods, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

In nature

The atmosphere is an example of an aerosol suspension, since it contains many suspended solid particles. The atmosphere contains carbon black, fine dust particles, sulfates, nitrates, among other compounds interspersed with water droplets in the clouds.

Another example of a suspension found in nature is silt or silt, which is a mixture of water and sand. Muddy rivers when the water drags the sediment to form a suspension.

In kitchen

The mixtures created in the kitchen when the powder is joined with water form an emulsion: with the rest, the powder tends to settle. Yogurt with fruit is an example of a suspended food. Fruit juice is not yet Transmission via colander is an example of suspension.

Likewise, the chocolate sparks in a glass of chicha form a very heterogeneous and unstable suspension. Leaving the chicha at rest, sooner or later a layer of chocolate will form on the bottom of the glass.

In the pharmaceutical industry

Suspension is used to fight parasitic infections, like mebendazole, is known. There are also astringents containing magnesium and aluminum salts, mixed with pectin and kaolin.

These pharmacological suspensions can have different routes of administration: topical, oral or parenteral. They will have different uses, that is, they serve to treat a number of diseases.

There is ophthalmology, nerve suspension, among others. It is recommended that the suspension be resumed, or before consumption to ensure the dose prescribed by the doctor.

Sand glass vs star glass

Some poetic phrases say: white stars floating in the sky.

Although completely disproportionate (and odd) the comparison between a glass of water with suspended sand and the “cosmic glass” of stars, it is interesting to consider for a moment the universe as a star. giant (and a host of other) celestial bodies).

If so, they won’t leave each other; but conversely, they will eventually group together to form a layer of stars at the bottom of said spacecraft.

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