Suspension Definition in Chemistry

What a Suspension Is (With Examples)

This is a close-up look at a suspension of mercury droplets in oil.
This is a close-up look at a suspension of mercury droplets in oil. DR JEREMY BURGESS / Getty Images

Mixtures may be classified according to their properties. A suspension is one type of mixture.

Key Takeaways: Suspension Chemistry Definition

A suspension is a type of heterogeneous mixture.

Over time, particles in a suspension will settle out.

A suspension contains larger particles than are found in a colloid. In a colloid, the particles remain mixed over time.

Suspension Definition

In chemistry, a suspension is a heterogeneous mixture of a fluid and solid particles. In order to be a suspension, the particles must not dissolve in the fluid.

A suspension of liquid or solid particles in a gas is called an aerosol.

Examples of Suspensions

Suspensions may be formed by shaking oil and water together, oil and mercury together, by mixing dust in air.

Suspension Versus Colloid

The difference between a suspension and a colloid is the solid particles in a suspension will settle out over time. In other words, the particles in a suspension are large enough to permit sedimentation. Individual suspension particles are present in a colloid, which causes light to scatter and reflect in what is known as the Tyndall effect.