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Examples of Colloids

Examples of Colloids
Examples of Colloids discuss different types of colloidal dispersions and their examples. The article is complemented with images to make you understand better.
Colloids are important chemicals which are used extensively used to produce commercial products. Many familiar products of daily use are examples of colloids.

Rewind : Definition of Colloids
Before we start to explore various examples of colloids, let us do a quick recap of basic Definition of Colloids. A colloid is a heterogeneous system in which one substance is dispersed (called dispersed phase) as very fine particles in another substance called dispersion medium. The size of the dispersed molecule is larger than a simple molecule (having diameter between 1 to 1000 nm) but small enough to remain suspended. So colloid is an intermediate state between suspensions and solutions.

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Moving On
Based on physical state of dispersion medium and dispersed phase, different types and examples of colloids are arranged below. For each state of dispersion medium all possible states of dispersed phase are discussed. Wondering why we use term “all possible states”? Read further to get the answer.

Case 1: Dispersion Medium is Solid

When dispersion medium is solid, the dispersed phase can be solid, liquid or gas. Based on the state of dispersed phase, colloids are called Solid Sols or Gels.

Different types of colloids and examples of each type are given below.

Dispersed Medium Dispersed Phase Types Of Colloids Examples of  Colloids
Solid Solid Solid Sol Gemstones, Pearls, Some Coloured Glass
Solid Liquid Gels Cheese ,Butter, Jellies, Jam, Shoe Polish
Solid Gas Solid Sol Pumice Stone, Foam Rubber

Cheese : Gels Colloid Butter : Gels Colloid
                                                   Cheese : Link                                                Butter : Link
Jellies : Gel Colloid Pumice Stone : Solid Stone Colloid Shoe Polish : Gels Colloid
                     Jellies : Link                                    Pumice Stone : Link                                Shoe Polish : Link
Gemstones : Solid Sol Colloid Pearls : Solid Sol Colloid
                                              Gemstones : Link                                             Pearls : Link

Case 2: Dispersion Medium is Liquid

When dispersion medium is liquid, the dispersed phase can be solid, liquid or gas. Based on the state of dispersed phase, colloids are called Sols,Emulsions or Foam.

Different types of colloids and examples of each type are given below.

Dispersed Medium Dispersed Phase Types Of Colloids Examples of  Colloids
Liquid Solid Sols Paints, Gum, Muddy Water
Liquid Liquid Emulsion Milk, Hair Cream, Cod-Liver Oil
Liquid Gas Foam Froth, Soap Lather , Whipped Cream

Paint : Sols Colloid
Paint : Link
Froth : Foam Colloid Whipped Cream : Foam Colloid
                                                     Froth : Link                                         Whipped Cream : Link
Rubber Tree : Colloid Milk : Emulsion Colloid
                                                  Rubber Tree : Link                                      Milk : Link
Muddy Water : Sols Colloid Soap Lather : Foam Colloid
                                             Muddy Water : Link                                      Soap Lather : Link

Case 3: Dispersion Medium is Gas

When dispersion medium is gas, the dispersed phase can be solid or liquid but not the gas.

It is important to note that colloid is a hetrogeneous mixture. When gas is mixed with another gas, it forms a completely miscible homogeneous mixture and not a colloidal solution. Though 3 states (solid , liquid or gas) each for dispersed medium and dispersed phase can form 9(=3+3+3) different combinations, we only have 8 colloidal states. This is where Mathematics and Chemistry Do Not Mix!!

Colloids of gas with dispersed phase as solids or liquids are called Aerosols. Different types of colloids and examples of each type are given below.

Dispersed Medium Dispersed Phase Types Of Colloids Examples of  Colloids
Gas Solid Aerosol Smoke, Dust
Gas Liquid Aerosol Insecticide Spray, Fog, Clouds

Fog : Aerosol Colloid Dust Storm : Aerosol Colloid Clouds : Aerosol Colloid
                                   Fog : Link                                     Dust : Link                                 Clouds : Link