MadSci Network: Immunology

Re: is human blood a colloid or a suspension?

Date: Thu Apr 29 00:47:38 2004
Posted By: Chris Fellows, Lecturer, Chemistry
Area of science: Immunology
ID: 1082823833.Im

The suspended particles in blood are of the right dimensions for it to be considered a sol, a type of colloid. A colloid can be defined as any 'stable' heterogeneous mixture composed of a continuous phase and a disperse phase of dimensions of the order (approximately) 10 nanometres - 1 micron.

Under normal conditions, blood is stable, and hence is properly referred to as a colloidal suspension. When subjected to extremely high forces as in a centrifuge, it is no longer stable and separates into its components. Sols can be destabilised in many ways (by shearing, heating, addition of a salt, etc.) so that they separate into their components, but this does not mean they were not colloidal to begin with!

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