What Is an Example of a Colloid in Biology?

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An example of a colloid in biology will also require you to take a close look at the atom. Find out about an example of a colloid in biology with help from an experienced chemistry professional in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Robin Higgins and this is what is an example of a colloid in biology. Alright, so let's just go into a couple of definitions of really small particles. So on one end you've got an atom. Obviously extremely small and next we're going to have a molecule and that's a bunch of atoms all interconnected. Remember that a molecule could just be two atoms connected or it can be a lot more than this but it's some kind of small number and so both of these obviously are too small to be seen with the human eye and so next, we're going to bump it up to a little bit bigger to a colloid. Okay and so this is now, if this is our molecule, we'll draw it as this, a colloid may be a bunch of molecules all stuck together. But, it can't be seen by the human eye. So their size range is usually one nanometer to about ten micrometers. So very very small and so when we say colloid what we usually mean is some of these collections of molecules dissolved in a liquid. So it's a liquid that if you looked at it looks like one thing but it's actually a bunch of particles, they're just too small to be seen. You might be thinking to yourself, wow, I've never heard of anything like that, I'm a little bit confused. Well, it just so happens that milk is a colloid. So if you peer into milk, it's not just one molecule like water, if you zoom into a glass of water, every single molecule is going to look like this and that's the end. If you zoom into a glass of milk, there's going to be these huge particles like this dispersed throughout the milk and so it's a lot different. This is why if you think of milk going bad, it actually separates into two layers and so there's usually a white layer on the bottom and then a clear yellow layer. I have too much experience with what this looks like, some grocery mates. And so you can prove to yourself that milk isn't just one substance because if you just leave it sitting there it will separate into two. Water will never separate into two different things if you leave it there. So there's lots of other examples of colloids in biology. This is generally what they all mean. I'm Robin Higgins and this has been what is a colloid in chemistry.


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