The key difference between liquid and aqueous is that the term liquid refers to any fluid that is nearly incompressible whereas the term aqueous refers to the liquids that have water as the solvent.
There are three phases of matter as solid phase, liquid phase and gas phase. Liquid phase has moderate properties to that of solids and gases. Any nearly incompressible fluid is a liquid. We give this definition because gases are also fluids, but they are compressible fluids. Some liquids are pure while others are mixtures of some components. The mixtures that exist in the liquid state are “solutions”. A solution contains solutes that are dissolved in a solvent. If the solvent is water, then we call that solution an aqueous solution.
What is Liquid?
A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid. It has no defined shape; thus, it takes the shape of the container in which the fluid is existing. However, it retains a constant volume that is independent of the pressure. The particles of a liquid are tiny and vibrating particles such as atoms. The intermolecular forces between these particles hold them together to keep the constant volume, but the strength of these intermolecular forces is not enough to maintain a fixed shape.
Typically, the density of a liquid is close to solids but far higher than gas. Therefore, we can name solids and liquids together as condensed matter. Viscosity is another important property of liquids. The viscosity is the resistance of a liquid to flow.
What is Aqueous?
The term aqueous refers to “containing water”. Therefore, an aqueous solution refers to a solution containing water as a component. Since water is a well-known solvent, it acts as the solvent of the aqueous solution which dissolves solutes in it. Especially, this term refers to the liquid state matter which has water and some other components as a homogeneous mixture.
Furthermore, when writing a chemical formula, we use “(aq)” at the end of an aqueous solution, i.e. an aqueous solution of sodium chloride is written as NaCl(aq). In contrast, a non-aqueous solution is a matter in a liquid state which has a solvent other than water.
Above all, aqueous solutions contain solutes that are hydrophilic or polar. This is because water molecules are polar. Thus, it can dissolve polar compounds but not nonpolar compounds. Moreover, these solutions tend to dissolve only hydrophilic components.
What is the Difference Between Liquid and Aqueous?
All aqueous solutions are liquids, but not all liquids are aqueous solutions. The key difference between liquid and aqueous is that the term liquid refers to any fluid that is nearly incompressible whereas the term aqueous refers to the liquids which have water as the solvent. Therefore, aqueous solutions are a type of liquid. As another important difference between liquid and aqueous, we can say that a pure liquid has no solvent, but impure liquids have a solvent that is either organic or inorganic while aqueous solutions always contain water as the solvent.
A further difference between liquid and aqueous is that the liquids may contain either hydrophilic or hydrophobic solutes whereas aqueous solutions always contain hydrophilic solutes. The below infographic on difference between liquid and aqueous tabulates all the differences that we discussed here.
Summary – Liquid vs Aqueous
An aqueous solution is a form of liquid. Therefore, all aqueous solutions are liquids, but not all liquids are aqueous solutions. The key difference between liquid and aqueous is that the term liquid refers to any fluid that is nearly incompressible whereas the term aqueous refers to the liquids which have water as the solvent.