Mixing is an important part of many processes, affecting the quality of numerous man-made (and nature-made) products. In laboratory and manufacturing settings, mixing often determines the overall value of a product, as well; mixed inappropriately, a product could end up being useless, costing scientists and manufacturers alike a lot of wasted time and/or money and offering no significant or effective operational merit. Thus, it’s important to know the different types of mixtures and their associated benefits. In this post, we’re going to discuss colloidal solutions, a type of mixture wherein tiny particles of one substance (liquid, solid or gas) are suspended within another substance (liquid, solid or gas). Here’s what you need to know about colloidal solutions, including how they’re created and what their differences from other types of mixtures mean for the people who use them:
What is a Colloidal Solution?
Multiple kinds of mixtures exist (solutions, suspensions and colloids/dispersions) with each one involving a specific process for its creation. For this blog, we’ll consider a colloid mixture (also commonly called a “colloidal solution” or “colloidal dispersion”), which is a mixture of one substance into another such that neither can be separated from the other. However, unlike a true “solution,” a colloidal solution does not involve the dissolution of one substance into another. Instead, a colloidal solution is comprised of particles that are evenly distributed (but not dissolved) within a substance in such a way that they can not settle nor separate from the medium over time. The key to this type of mixture is ensuring that the substance being dispersed into the associated medium is broken into particles that are small enough that they can be — and will always remain — thoroughly mixed with the medium containing them. Mixtures that don’t remain combined are known as suspensions.
How to Create a Colloidal Solution
The first step in creating a colloidal solution is breaking apart the product to be dispersed into the medium. There are several ways to facilitate this process; chemicals can be used to break apart a product and/or physical force(s), such as agitation, stirring, pounding, grinding, etc. High pressure can also be used, and our team at BEE International believes that our high pressure homogenizers provide the best options on the market when it comes to particle size reduction for colloidal solutions. Our homogenizers combine a variety of forces (high pressure, shear, cavitation and impact) to ensure nano-sized particles result in the least number of passes. These extremely small particles are then able to be fully distributed throughout the medium, thereby effectively creating a colloid solution.
Why Colloid Solutions are Important
Colloids are valuable because they prohibit the separation of two otherwise immiscible products. The milk we drink; the paint we use; the makeup we wear; the drugs we take: these are all example of colloid solutions. Because very small particles have been mixed in just the right way, many of the foods, paints, polymers, pastes, cosmetics and pills (and more) that we consume are able to exist. Mixed properly, they are consistently more stable, lasting longer than they would otherwise, as well as more attractive, remaining fully combined so that they look and feel smooth and cohesive. When applicable, colloids are also better tasting with better bioavailability. These are all important benefits of colloidal solutions.
Want to Learn More?
Creating colloidal solutions is a critical process that affords us with many useful and vital products for everyday life. To effectively disperse products within a medium, manufacturers and scientists need reliable, effective equipment. We believe BEE International high pressure homogenizers (HPHs) offer the tightest distribution of the smallest sized particles in the least number of passes, making them the best option for the creation of colloidal solutions. To learn more about our HPHs and the advantages they offer for a variety of processes, please contact our team.
You might also wish to download our free eBook, "How to Achieve Efficient & consistent Particle Size Reduction,” for additional tips.