Is Orange Juice A Pure Substance? (EXPLAINED)

No, orange juice is not considered a pure substance. Orange juice is a heterogeneous mixture, but it could also be processed into a homogeneous mixture.

Why Is Orange Juice A Pure Substance? (Or Not?)

You might find “pure” orange juice on the shelf at your local market. But scientifically and chemically speaking, the purity of a substance at the grocer level is far different.

What Is A Pure Substance (chemically)?

Scientifically, a pure substance is a substance that is made up of one kind of building block.

That building block can be an element (such as gold, iron, or lead).

That building block could also be a compound (as we see in water, carbon dioxide, and salt).

If there are other building blocks that were not bonded to each other, the substance cannot be called a pure substance.

What is Orange Juice?

When you squeeze an orange, the juice comes out. It seems like the liquid from the fruit is what it is, right?

Not exactly.

Orange juice is actually made up of multiple substances, including but not limited to: water, pectin, organic acids, sugars, and phenolic compounds.

In addition, especially if the juice is commercially prepared, you’ll find that the juice contains additives to influence the flavor, feel, and nutritional value.

Is Orange Juice A Pure Substance?

Obviously, knowing what a “pure substance” is scientifically, orange juice is not a pure substance.

Orange juice is made up of more building blocks than is worth delving into for the purpose of answering this question.

And since orange juice is made up of more than one building block (element or compound), it is not a pure substance.

Is Orange Juice A Mixture?

Yes, we would consider orange juice a mixture.

A mixture is any material composed or more than one substance, where those substances are not bonded to each other.

In the case of orange juice, whether it is fresh squeezed right from the fruit, or whether it is made from concentrate, the substance is a mixture.

The reason? Orange juice is composed of water, sugars, acids, and more.

These substances are not bonded to each other, and can be removed or separated from the other, even if you have to go to the molecular level to do it.

Because orange juice is composed of multiple substances that are not bonded to each other, it can be considered a mixture.

Is Orange Juice A Heterogeneous Mixture Or A Homogeneous Mixture?

In general, orange juice is a heterogeneous mixture.

A homogeneous mixture is one that is chemically and physically consistent throughout the material.

A heterogeneous mixture is one that is not chemically or physically consistent throughout the material.

In the case of orange juice, the liquid and the pulp are not combined.

The pulp is not suspended all that well in the liquid, and if you fail to shake up your juice before you pour it, you might get more or less pulp than you expect.

Because the materials in the juice are not consistent throughout the sample, even after you shake it up, we’d call it a heterogeneous mixture.

That being said, orange juice could be considered a homogeneous mixture, if it was sufficiently processed.

Imagine if you removed the pulp, and any of the other organic materials that tend to float around in the juice.

Blend it, stir it, mix it, strain it.

In the end, you could probably wind up with a homogeneous mixture.

But not without a lot of effort.

Is Orange Juice A Solution?

In general, orange juice could not be considered a solution.

As noted above, orange juice is generally a heterogeneous mixture of many substances, the consistency and appearance of which can change depending upon how long the liquid has been sitting still.

A solution is a homogeneous mixture of solute(s) dissolved into the solvent.

The solutes (the materials dissolved) are spread out evenly throughout the solvent.

In the case of orange juice, you just don’t have dissolved materials spread out evenly. You have some substances which are dissolved into the liquid, and many more substances that are not.

This is why we generally wouldn’t call orange juice a solution.

However, as noted above, orange juice could be processed enough to where it could be a homogeneous mixture.

If you removed the pulp and other organic substances that are not dissolved, and processed the heck out of it, you could end up with something that qualifies as a homogeneous mixture.

And definitely some types of orange juice that are created by dissolved a powdered substance into water could be considered a homogeneous mixture and also a solution.

Is Orange Juice A Suspension?

Yes, orange juice is considered a suspension.

A suspension is generally a liquid mixture, where the particles present in the liquid do not dissolve into it, but instead, float around throughout the solvent.

The particles in a suspension are impacted by gravity, and if the suspension is left to sit, the particles gradually are pulled down to the bottom of the container.

In the case of orange juice, the pulp as well as other organic particulate from the orange float around, but end up at the bottom of the container until you shake it.

Now, if you process the juice enough and strain out these particles, you could end up with a liquid that is not a suspension because there are no particles floating around that are not dissolved into the liquid.

But in general, orange juice is considered a suspension.

Is Orange Juice A Colloid?

No, we wouldn’t call orange juice a colloid.

A colloid is a homogeneous mixture, where the particles are dispersed evenly throughout the liquid and do not settle or separate from the liquid.

A good example of a colloid is milk.

These particles are not dissolved into the liquid, but instead just sit there, where they are in the liquid, even when the liquid is move, swished, or even left sitting.

Gravity does not pull them down or out.

In the case of orange juice (especially fresh squeezed orange juice that has not been extensively processed), you’ve got a mix of particles that fall quickly to the bottom of the vessel, particles that remain suspended for a while in the liquid, and particles that do no fall down to the bottom of the material even with time.

You’ve probably got characteristics of a mixture, a suspension, and a colloid.

But since the entire substance is not a colloid, we wouldn’t call it one.

That being said, like with previous questions, you could probably process the juice enough and remove enough from it that you could be left with a homogeneous mixture.

Curious about whether other materials like steam, tea, baking powder, or chocolate are pure substances or mixtures?