Suspension vs. Emulsion: How Do They Differ?

Posted by Deb Shechter on Jan 20, 2017 12:30:00 PM

suspensions and emulsionHomogenization – also known as particle size reduction – is a growing technique used in a multitude of industries. With benefits to the end product including longer shelf life, lower cost, and improved look, taste, and texture, it’s no wonder more and more industries are looking to incorporate this technique into their process!

In the world of homogenization, two terms that are often used are emulsion and suspension. But what do these terms mean, and how do they differ from one another? Continue reading to learn more about emulsion and suspension.


A suspension is an evenly dispersed mixture of substances consisting of two components: the dispersed material and the dispersion medium. The dispersed material is usually in a solid phase, although it can take the form of any phase. The dispersion medium is what the dispersed materials are distributed in. For example, in an example using muddy water, the dispersed material would be soil or dirt, and the dispersion medium would be water. Particles in a suspension are typically visible to the naked eye, and with filtration, one component can be separated from the other. Other examples of suspensions include sand in water, dust in air, or even droplets of oil in air.


An emulsion is similar to a suspension only in that it is a mixture of two components. That is where the similarities end, however. Unlike a suspension, which can consist of two components of any phase, an emulsion is a mixture of two liquids.

What makes an emulsion interesting is the fact that these two liquids are immiscible – that is, they are not able to be mixed without help. In other words, emulsions do not form spontaneously, and need an external force – mixing, shaking, stirring, or the addition of an emulsifier – to maintain its stability.

BEE International

BEE International has a number of high pressure homogenizers that are adept at creating stable nano and micro emulsions. Our focus on efficient, high quality, and repeatable particle size reduction results in emulsions that boast the following qualities:

  • Achieving the desired particle size with droplet sizes around or below 100mm
  • Extending product shelf life
  • Increased efficacy
  • Controlled release
  • Creation of products that minimize clogging
  • Products that are more cost effective, due to the even distribution of active ingredients

To learn more about suspensions and emulsions, as well as how to choose the best homogenizer for your industry’s needs, please contact us today.

For more information on how to achieve efficient and consistent particle size reduction, download our FREE eBook:

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