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What is Dispersion?

Dispersion is defined as a mixture in which fine particles are scattered in a continuous phase throughout a different substance or state. This may be classified as one of three main types, these are:

Colloid - A colloid dispersion contains particles which are larger than ions but still too small to be observed under a microscope. Particles within this type of dispersion remain statistically distributed and do not settle.

Suspension - A suspension, also known as a coarse dispersion, will have particles that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye, or under a microscope. Particles within a suspension may become distributed through mechanical means, but may settle out eventually. The use of binding agents may prevent this occurrence.

Solution- A solution is a homogenous mixture with two or more components known as a solvent and solute. It will have particles in molecular or ionic size.

Various types of dispersions can be found in the culinary world. Milk is a common example of a colloidal dispersion. Saline and simple sugars are both types of solutions while a mixture of oil and water is considered a suspension. Mayonnaise, which is an emulsion is also a type of suspension.