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  • Topic: Colloid, Condensed matter physics, Emulsion
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  • Published : February 2, 2011
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colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase (or internal phase) and a continuous phase (or dispersion medium). A colloidal system may be solid, liquid, or gaseous. Many familiar substances are colloids, as shown in the chart below. As well as these naturally occurring colloids, modern chemical process industries utilize high shear mixing technology to create novel colloids. The dispersed-phase particles have a diameter of between approximately 5 and 200 nanometers.[2] Such particles are normally invisible in an optical microscope, though their presence can be confirmed with the use of an ultramicroscope or an electron microscope. Homogeneous mixtures with a dispersed phase in this size range may be called colloidal aerosols, colloidal emulsions, colloidal foams, colloidal dispersions, or hydrosols. The dispersed-phase particles or droplets are affected largely by the surface chemistry present in the colloid. Some colloids are translucent because of the Tyndall effect, which is the scattering of light by particles in the colloid. Other colloids may be opaque or have a slight color. Colloidal systems (also called colloidal solutions or colloidal suspensions) are the subject of interface and colloid science. This field of study was introduced in 1861 by Scottish scientist Thomas Graham.Because the size of the dispersed phase may be difficult to measure, and because colloids have the appearance of solutions, colloids are sometimes identified and characterized by their physico-chemical and transport properties. For example, if a colloid consists of a solid phase dispersed in a liquid, the solid particles will not diffuse through a membrane, whereas with a true solution the dissolved ions or molecules will diffuse through a membrane. Because of the size exclusion, the colloidal particles are unable to pass through the pores of an ultrafiltration membrane with a size smaller than their own dimension. The smaller the size of the pore of the ultrafiltration membrane, the lower the concentration of the dispersed colloidal particules remaining in the ultrafiltred liquid. The exact value of the concentration of a truly dissolved species will thus depend on the experimental conditions applied to separate it from the colloidal particles also dispersed in the liquid. This is, a.o., particularly important for solubility studies of readily hydrolysed species such as Al, Eu, Am, Cm, ... or organic matter complexing these species. Colloids can be classified as follows:

Medium / PhasesDispersed phase
Continuous mediumGas
(All gases are mutually miscible)
Liquid aerosol
Examples: fog, mist, hair sprays
Solid aerosol
Examples: smoke, cloud, air particulates
Example: whipped cream, Shaving cream
Examples: milk, mayonnaise, hand cream
Examples: pigmented ink, blood
Solid foam
Examples: aerogel, styrofoam, pumice
Examples: agar, gelatin, jelly, opal
Solid sol
Example: cranberry glass
In some cases, a colloid can be considered as a homogeneous mixture. This is because the distinction between "dissolved" and "particulate" matter can be sometimes a matter of approach, which affects whether or not it is homogeneous or heterogeneous. [edit]Hydrocolloids

A hydrocolloid is defined as a colloid system wherein the colloid particles are dispersed in water. A hydrocolloid has colloid particles spread throughout water, and depending on the quantity of water available that can take place in different states, e.g., gel or sol (liquid). Hydrocolloids can be either irreversible (single-state) or reversible. For example, agar, a reversible hydrocolloid of seaweed extract, can exist in a gel and sol state, and alternate between states with the addition or elimination of heat. Many hydrocolloids are derived from natural sources. For example, agar-agar and carrageenan are extracted from seaweed, gelatin is produced by hydrolysis of proteins of bovine and...
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