Difference between Suspension and Emulsion

A mixture is a physical combination of two or more substances in the same or different states. Mixtures can be of many types like a solution, suspension and colloids. A mixture can be classified into two types, homogeneous mixture and heterogeneous mixture. In the homogeneous mixture, there is a uniform distribution of substances, e.g. solution of water and salt or sugar, air, etc. In a heterogeneous mixture, the distribution of substances vary and substances can be identified, e.g. mud or sand in water.


The suspension is a heterogeneous mixture. Here the solid particles are large and tend to settle when allowed to stand still. Here the suspended particles do not dissolve like a solution and freely move in the medium. Here the dispersed phase is solid and the dispersion medium can be solid, liquid or gas. The particles may be visible through the naked eye and are generally larger than 1µm. Sand in water is an example of a suspension. A mixture is known as suspension when particles are not settled at the bottom. Suspension differs from colloid in having larger particles. In colloids, particles do not settle down.


Emulsion is a type of liquid-liquid colloidal system. A colloid is a heterogeneous mixture of substances, where very fine particles of size 10-9 to 10-6 m known as dispersed phase are present in the dispersion medium. The size of particles in colloids is larger than in solution but smaller than that of suspensions. An emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible liquids or partially miscible liquids. There are two types of emulsions, viz., oil in water and water in oil. Example of oil in water (o/w) emulsion is milk, where fat is dispersed in water. Example of water in oil (w/o) type of emulsion is butter and cream. They show Brownian movement and Tyndall effect. Liquids in an emulsion can be separated by various physical methods such as heating, freezing, centrifugation, etc.

Difference between Suspension and Emulsion

The table below shows the main differences between Suspension and Emulsion:



Type of mixture

It is a heterogeneous mixture, where the dispersed particles are large and settle on standing

It is a heterogeneous mixture of two immiscible liquids. It is a type of colloids and dispersed particle do not settle on standing

Particle size

Suspended particles of size more than 1000 nm. May be visible through the naked eye

Dispersed particles of size 1 to 1000 nm. Not visible through the naked eye

Dispersed phase and the Dispersion medium

Solid particles are dispersed in any medium, that can be solid, gas or liquid

Both dispersed phase and the dispersion medium are liquid

Separation of components

Can be separated by filtration

Cannot be separated by filtration

Scattering of light

May scatter light or opaque

Shows Tyndall effect


Suspending agents are required for the stability

Emulsifying agents are required for the stability


Sand in water, flour in water

Milk, vanishing cream, butter

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