My question has already been answered in parts at Difference between state of matter and phase

But for deep and real understanding I have to ask for the difference between phase and a heterogenous mixture :

Say we have a bowl made of glass. The bowl is filled with a few different solid rocks on the ground, water in the middle and some oil on top.

I try to analyse this situation for understanding:

  • There is a phase of oil on the top
  • There is a phase of water in the middle
  • There is a phase of rocks on the ground
  • Since the rocks on the ground are not equally the same they are a bunch of single phases that do not mix up to each other
  • The rocks on the ground are also a heterogenous mixture
  • The air above the water is a phase of gas
  • The glass is a solid phase of silicon

Is that correct?


A deep and real understanding?!?

I don't think you'll find any definitions that you can't pick at.

So if in a large bottle you mix some water and benzene that don't fill the bottle then you'll end up with three phases. A gas phase that has air/water/benzene, a liquid phase that is mostly benzene with a tiny amount of water, and another liquid phase that is mostly water with a tiny amount of benzene.

So if I just take some random rocks (different kinds of rocks) and dump then into a bowl of water, then yes there is a solid phase. But as a chemist I wouldn't really think of the random rocks as a phase because there really isn't much of an equilibrium. Picking at this I'd have to admit that a minuscule amount of rock would dissolve in the water. Hence there would be an equilibrium of sorts between the various rocks too.

What we'd normally consider a glass is a mixture of silica and other minerals. However amorphous solids are also referred to as glasses.

  • $\begingroup$ "A deep and real understanding?!?" Well yes, I am learning the basics of chemistry right now and I have read some definitions. But coming up with an own example which is a little abstract and checking if this is correct is a good way to improve. $\endgroup$ Oct 28 '17 at 10:39

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