AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between solution and suspension?

Posted March 17, 2023


Solution and suspension are two types of mixtures. The individual components in both types of mixtures are not chemically bonded to each other and can be separated based on their size, solubility, and density. Aside from this similarity, there are several differences between solution and suspension. 

Basis of differentiation 




Is a homogeneous mixture comprised of very small particles

Is a heterogeneous mixture comprised of bigger particle sizes 


Homogeneous – solute particles are dissolved in a solvent. The composition remains the same throughout the mixture

Heterogeneous - particles can be visibly distinguished. The composition does not remain the same throughout

Particle size

Particles are very small either of atomic or molecular level, average size is <1 nm

Particles are comparatively larger, average size > 1000nm    

Visibility of particles

Particles cannot be seen with the naked eye or even under a light microscope 

Particles can be seen by the naked eye as well as under a light microscope. 


Particles are evenly dispersed

Particles are not evenly dispersed  


Solutes and solvent are in the same phase

Suspended particles can be in a different phase from that of the medium


Transparent - no scattering of light

Cloudy - light is scattered and reflected


Salt (NaCl) in water or sugar in water

Milk of magnesia – a  suspension of magnesium hydroxide

Additional resources

Evaluation of powder, solution and suspension layering for the preparation of enteric coated pellets

Solubility Reference Table

Serial Dilution Calculator and Planner