The key difference between dispersed phase and dispersion medium is that the dispersed phase is a discontinuous phase whereas the dispersion medium is a continuous medium.
A dispersion is a two-component system that consists of dispersed phase and dispersion medium. The dispersed phase has particles that distribute throughout the dispersion medium.
What is Dispersed Phase?
The dispersed phase of a dispersion is the discontinuous phase that distributes throughout the dispersion medium. It is one of the two components in a colloid. The particles of the dispersed phase have a diameter around 1-100 nm. There are three main types of particles;
A multimolecular colloid has particles with low molecular weight. These small particles can combine with each other to form large particles having dimensions in the colloidal range. Ex: Sulphur solution. There are small S8molecules that combine with each other to form large aggregates known as colloidal particles.
Macromolecular colloids have particles with high molecular weight. These particles exist as individual particles in the dispersion. And these individual particles have dimensions in the colloidal range.
The dispersed phase of associated colloids has very small particles. These particles can aggregate to form colloids. Ex: soap and detergent in water.
What is Dispersion Medium?
The dispersion medium is the continuous phase of a colloid. Therefore, the dispersed phase distributes throughout the dispersion medium. Furthermore, this dispersion medium can be in any state of matter; solid state, liquid state or gas state.
Sometimes, the dispersion medium is also called the external medium because it occurs outside the dispersed phase. For example, milk is a colloidal dispersion in which the dispersion medium is water. Another example is the fog. The dispersion medium for fog is air (water droplets are the dispersed phase).
What is the Difference Between Dispersed Phase and Dispersion Medium?
Uniaxial vs Biaxial Crystals
|The dispersed phase of a dispersion is the discontinuous phase that distributes throughout the dispersion medium.||The dispersion medium is the continuous phase of a colloid. The dispersed phase distributes throughout the dispersion medium.|
|Internal Phase||External Phase|
|Dust particles in the air||The air, through which the dust particles are distributed|
Summary – Dispersed Phase vs Dispersion Medium
Dispersed phase and dispersion medium occur in the same dispersion. The difference between dispersed phase and dispersion medium is that dispersed phase is a discontinuous phase whereas dispersion medium is a continuous medium.
1. “Dispersed Media.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Sept. 2017. Available here