In chemistry, a mixture is a material made up of two or more different substances which are physically combined. A mixture is the physical combination of two or more substances in which the identities are retained and are mixed in the form of solutions, suspensions and colloids.
Mixtures are one product of mechanically blending or mixing chemical substances such as elements and compounds, without chemical bonding or other chemical change, so that each ingredient substance retains its own chemical properties and makeup. Despite the fact that there are no chemical changes to its constituents, the physical properties of a mixture, such as its melting point, may differ from those of the components. Some mixtures can be separated into their components by using physical (mechanical or thermal) means. Azeotropes are one kind of mixture that usually poses considerable difficulties regarding the separation processes required to obtain their constituents (physical or chemical processes or, even a blend of them).
Mixtures can be characterized by being separable by mechanical means e.g. heat, filtration, gravitational sorting, centrifugation etc. Mixtures can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous': a mixture in which constituents are distributed uniformly is called homogeneous, such as salt in water, otherwise it is called heterogeneous, such as sand in water.
One example of a mixture is air. Air is a homogeneous mixture of the gaseous substances nitrogen, oxygen, and smaller amounts of other substances. Salt, sugar, and many other substances dissolve in water to form homogeneous mixtures. A homogeneous mixture in which there is both a solute and solvent present is also a solution. Mixtures can have any amounts of ingredients.
Mixtures are unlike chemical compounds, because:
The following table shows the main properties of the three families of mixtures and examples of the three types of mixture.
|Dispersion medium (mixture phase)||Dissolved or dispersed phase||Solution||Colloid||Suspension (coarse dispersion)|
|Gas||Gas||Gas mixture: air (oxygen and other gases in nitrogen)||None||None|
fog, mist, vapor, hair sprays
smoke, ice cloud, air particulates
oxygen in water
whipped cream, shaving cream
|Sea foam, beer head|
milk, mayonnaise, hand cream
sugar in water
pigmented ink, blood
mud (soil, clay or silt particles are suspended in water), chalk powder suspended in water
hydrogen in metals
aerogel, styrofoam, pumice
amalgam (mercury in gold), hexane in paraffin wax
agar, gelatin, silicagel, opal
alloys, plasticizers in plastics
|Clay, silt, sand, gravel, granite|
A homogeneous mixture has the same proportions of its components throughout any given sample and is also referred to as a solution. Conversely, a heterogeneous mixture has components of which proportions vary throughout the sample. "Homogeneous" and "heterogeneous" are not absolute terms, but are dependent on context and the size of the sample.
A solution is a special type of homogeneous mixture where the ratio of solute to solvent remains the same throughout the solution and the particles are not visible with the naked eye, even if homogenized with multiple sources. In solutions, solutes will not settle out after any period of time and they can't be removed by physical methods, such as a filter or centrifuge. As a homogeneous mixture, a solution has one phase (solid, liquid, or gas), although the phase of the solute and solvent may initially have been different (e.g., salt water).
Air can be more specifically described as a gaseous solution (oxygen and other gases dissolved in the major component, nitrogen). Since interactions between molecules play almost no role, dilute gases form trivial solutions. In part of the literature, they are not even classified as solutions. In gas, intermolecular space is the greatest--and intermolecular force of attraction is least. Some examples can be oxygen, hydrogen, or nitrogen.
Making a distinction between homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures is a matter of the scale of sampling. On a coarse enough scale, any mixture can be said to be homogeneous, if the entire article is allowed to count as a "sample" of it. On a fine enough scale, any mixture can be said to be heterogeneous, because a sample could be as small as a single molecule. In practical terms, if the property of interest of the mixture is the same regardless of which sample of it is taken for the examination used, the mixture is homogeneous.
where , , , , and are respectively: the heterogeneity of the th particle of the population, the mass concentration of the property of interest in the th particle of the population, the mass concentration of the property of interest in the population, the mass of the th particle in the population, and the average mass of a particle in the population.
Pierre Gy derived, from the Poisson sampling model, the following formula for the variance of the sampling error in the mass concentration in a sample:
in which V is the variance of the sampling error, N is the number of particles in the population (before the sample was taken), q i is the probability of including the ith particle of the population in the sample (i.e. the first-order inclusion probability of the ith particle), m i is the mass of the ith particle of the population and a i is the mass concentration of the property of interest in the ith particle of the population.
The above equation for the variance of the sampling error is an approximation based on a linearization of the mass concentration in a sample.
In the theory of Gy, correct sampling is defined as a sampling scenario in which all particles have the same probability of being included in the sample. This implies that q i no longer depends on i, and can therefore be replaced by the symbol q. Gy's equation for the variance of the sampling error becomes:
where abatch is that concentration of the property of interest in the population from which the sample is to be drawn and Mbatch is the mass of the population from which the sample is to be drawn.
|chapter-url=(help). Encyclopedia of Environmental Studies, New Edition. Online publisher:Science Online. Facts On File, Inc. 2001. access date: 2010-01-01