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Miscible Liquids: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 Definition of Miscible Liquids
  • 2:19 Miscible Liquids
  • 3:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Reid

Danielle has taught middle school science and has a doctorate degree in Environmental Health

What is a miscible liquid? Learn what it means for a liquid to be miscible, and explore everyday liquids known to be miscible. Then test your understanding with a short quiz.

Definition of Miscible Liquids

Orange juice and carbonated water are two liquids you can easily find at a grocery store. When you mix both liquids together, you get a delicious orange juice fizz drink! Did you know the recipe for making this drink is a great example of a chemical property called miscibility?

Miscibility refers to the ability of a liquid to completely dissolve in another liquid solution. A distinct layer between two liquids will not form when you have a solution that is labeled miscible. When a distinct layer does form in a mixed solution, this is called immiscibility. For example, a type of immiscible liquid is oil and water. When mixed together, oil will essentially 'sit on top' of water, resulting in the formation of a very noticeable layer.

In chemistry, you can exploit this concept of forming a layer when you would like to tell the difference between miscible and immiscible liquids. A water curve, called a meniscus, will form when two liquids are immiscible. Thus, miscible liquids will NOT have a meniscus. This diagram provides an illustration of this difference highlighting the presence (and absence) of a meniscus.

miscible

Homogenous is a great term that should come to mind whenever you encounter the word 'miscible.' A solution that is homogenous only contains a single phase. In other words, when you look at a homogenous solution, you will see a uniform composition of two (or more) liquids mixed together. Thus, think of the term homogenous as a way to define miscibility.

If you happen to not be in a chemical laboratory when identifying the meniscus in a solution, there is another way to qualitatively analyze whether or not your solution is miscible. Simply observe the liquids being mixed. If you see the liquids separate from one another after mixing, you can strongly conclude that the solution is immiscible.

Now, there is a great chemical explanation behind why two liquids can be miscible. This explanation refers to the polarity of a liquid. Liquid solutions can be described as either non-polar or polar substances. If two liquids possess similar polarities, they will form a homogenous solution that will be miscible. For example, let's say you have two liquids both considered to be polar. Because they are both polar, the desire to mingle and unite to form one solution will occur.

Miscible Liquids

Given what we have learned regarding miscible liquids, we can apply these concepts to a few examples. Let's look at a common solution we are very familiar with. When you head out to gas up your car, did you ever think that gasoline is a type of miscible liquid? It sure is! Gasoline is an organic liquid solution composed of numerous organic solvents, such as benzene, xylene, and toluene.

Think of a solvent as a type of liquid that dissolves another liquid to form a solution. When mixed together, numerous solvents combine to form gasoline. It's through this action of mixing different liquids to form one uniform solution that categorizes gasoline as miscible.

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