Difference Between Liquid and Aqueous (With Table)

Liquid and aqueous are two terms that are widely used in science. Both have properties and characteristics that make them very different from each other. However, people who do not delve into scientific research often think that they are one and the same. For the sake of accuracy, it is better to know the distinction between them.

Liquid vs Aqueous

The difference between liquid and aqueous is that liquid is a term used to describe a state of matter that does not have any shape but has some amount of volume to it whereas aqueous is a term used to describe a solution that is made by mixing a dissoluble substance with a liquid.

Liquid is any substance that is made up of loosely packed molecules held together by chemical bonds. It flows freely and has the ability to be placed into containers of all shapes and kinds. However, because of its volume, it tends to sit down and does not fill up every corner and crevice of a container like gasses do.

Meanwhile, aqueous can be looked at as a kind of liquid. However, it has many more features and properties. It is essentially a mixture of a dissoluble substance and water. This substance may be solid, liquid, or gaseous, but it should surely form a new substance when put into the solvent.

Comparison Table Between Liquid and Aqueous

Parameters of ComparisonLiquidAqueous
MeaningLiquid is a state of matter made up of loosely packed molecules held together using chemical bonds.Aqueous is a solution that is made by mixing a dissoluble substance with water.
CompositionIt may or may not contain a solute.It always contains a solute along with a solvent which is water.
Dissoluble SubstanceThe solvent may or may not mix with the solute completely.The solvent always mixes with the solute completely, forming a third substance.
NatureA liquid may have a polar or non-polar nature.An aqueous solution is always polar in nature.
ExampleExamples of liquids include water, blood, wine, milk, mercury, etc.Examples of aqueous solutions include rain, seawater, cold drinks, tea, etc.

What is Liquid?

A liquid is a term used to describe the state of matter of a substance. The substance needs to have certain properties and characteristics for it to be classified under this category. First of all, the molecules of the substance should be loosely packed and incompressible. Due to this, the substance becomes free-flowing and is able to be shaped in any which way, according to the container it is poured in.

Another characteristic of a liquid is that it has a fixed volume that is not affected by pressure whatsoever. However, liquids cannot disperse into a container and fill every corner of it as gasses do. Due to the certain constant volume that a liquid has, it tends to sit down and leave spaces on the top.

What makes liquids different from an aqueous solution is that they may or may not contain other substances. Moreover, it is not necessary for the substances to be dissolvable. A liquid can contain any organic or inorganic matter and it would still retain most of its properties.

Another aspect is that a liquid may be polar or non-polar. A polar liquid such as water can only dissolves in other liquids which are polar. It does not have the ability to dissolve in non-polar liquids such as oil.

What is Aqueous?

Aqueous is a term used to describe a solution that is made using only polar liquids. The base substance in which something is dissolved must always be water. Moreover, the substance that is being dissolved must mix into the water completely. If this does not happen, the resulting mixture cannot be termed as an aqueous solution.

Some examples of an aqueous solution include rainwater, seawater, tea, cold drinks and even urine. All of these solutions have a hydrophilic substance dissolved in them, with water as a base liquid. If they were pure liquids such as mercury, they would not even be called a solution in the first place.

Another aspect is that when the substances are mixed together, the result must be stable. For example, when salt is dissolved in water, it can stand that way indefinitely. The salt does not settle at the bottom of the container. However, if sand is mixed with water, the sand molecules will sit down at the bottom after a certain amount of time.

Therefore, saltwater can be termed as an aqueous solution whereas sand water cannot. Moreover, the salt cannot be filtered out after it is mixed. On the other hand, the sand can easily be filtered.

Main Differences Between Liquid and Aqueous

  1. Liquid is a state of matter made up of loosely packed molecules held together using chemical bonds whereas aqueous is a solution that is made by mixing a dissoluble substance with water.
  2. Liquid may or may not contain a solute whereas aqueous always contains a solute along with a solvent which is water.
  3. Liquid may or may not mix with the solute completely whereas aqueous always mixes with the solute completely, forming a third substance.
  4. A liquid may have a polar or non-polar nature whereas an aqueous solution is always polar in nature.
  5. Examples of liquids include water, blood, wine, milk, mercury, etc. whereas examples of aqueous solutions include rain, seawater, cold drinks, tea, etc.

Conclusion

Liquid and aqueous essentially have a similar state of matter. However, there are subtle differences between them. Firstly, liquid in itself describes a state of matter with particular characteristics. Meanwhile, aqueous is a solution that is made by combining two liquids.

Another notable difference is that a liquid may or not contain a solute whereas an aqueous solution always contains a solute. While the solute of liquid may or may not be dissolvable, the solute of an aqueous solution must always be dissolvable. Moreover, a liquid may be polar or non-polar unlike an aqueous solution, which is always polar.

References

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3844?origin=ppub
  2. https://journals.aps.org/rmp/abstract/10.1103/RevModPhys.48.587
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