Difference Between Aqueous vs Liquid

Difference Between Aqueous vs Liquid

The difference between liquid and aqueous is a clarification we all need to make for the sake of accuracy. It is just like a lot of other words in the English language: these words are similar, but they are distinctively different in meaning and application.

Both of these terms describe different states of matter. Liquid is matter in a fluid form, whereas something aqueous is a solution whose primary solvent is water. There are a lot of factors that point out the obvious differences between these two states of matter, as we are about to discuss, so keep reading.

Definition of Aqueous

Aqueous is a solution formed by dissolving or decomposing matter in water. The keywords here include water which the solution must contain, and any other substance that is soluble in H2O. From another point of view, it can also be defined as liquid state matter with water as the primary solvent. This term is originally from the Latin language, derived from the word “aqua,” which means water.

Let us talk about the materials that can be dissolved in H2O to make it aqueous. These materials are called solutes, and there are two main types, categorized as hydrophobic and hydrophilic.

When the matter is hydrophobic, that means it does not easily dissolve in water, if at all, and it is said to be insoluble. On the other hand, a hydrophilic material gives way to dissolution when it comes into contact with water and can be said to be soluble.

A very good liquid vs aqueous illustration that shows how these two differ can be seen in the way sodium chloride is written. When it is NaCl(aq), that means it was dissolved in water, but when it is NaCl(l), that means it is the molten state of pure sodium chloride with no water in it.

Definition of Liquid

Liquid is defined as a state of matter characterized by its ability to flow from one point to another. It has certain properties that differentiate it from other states, and as a matter of fact, it is an intermediate phase between the solid and gas state.

The difference is that the particles of a solid matter are closely and densely packed while that of liquid are less densely packed and that of gas are very sparse.

Matter in a liquid form has notable intermolecular attraction among the particles, which is why it can flow from one point to another. Also, since the particles are not as densely packed, this form of matter takes up the shape of whatever it is contained in.

In other words, it is shapeless on its own and does not have any fixed position. The limited amount of space between the particles of a liquid also shows that they have very limited compressibility.

Finally, in this section, let us talk about the density of liquids. Liquids come in different forms and densities. Some are denser (examples include mercury and liquid metal) while some others are not as dense (examples include water and alcohol). Mixing liquids of different densities would result in insolubility. The heavier one settles at the bottom while the lighter one stays at the top.

Main Differences Between Aqueous vs Liquid

We may not have the time to state every difference between aqueous and liquid, but we tried to do the most we can with the table below. It shows how these terms are different from the other based on the listed modes of comparison.

Basis of ComparisonAqueousLiquid
DefinitionA solution formed by dissolving or decomposing matter in waterA state of matter characterized by its ability to flow from one point to another
NatureLiquid in natureNot necessarily aqueous
SolventSolvent is waterIs a solvent itself
PolarityAlways polarMay be polar or non-polar
SoluteHydrophilicHydrophilic or hydrophobic

Difference Between Aqueous and Liquid: Conclusion

We hope we have done a decent job in comparing aqueous vs liquid and stating how the two are different from one another. The most outstanding similarity between these two is that they are both in a liquid form, but besides that, there are a lot of other factors that point out their variations.