Management Notes

Reference Notes for Management

Addition of alcohol to a hydrophilic colloid leads to:

Addition of alcohol to a hydrophilic colloid leads to:


A. crystallization
B. hydration
C. precipitation
D. stabilization

The Correct Answer Is:

  • C. precipitation

The correct answer is C. precipitation.

When alcohol is added to a hydrophilic colloid, it often leads to a phenomenon known as precipitation. To understand why this occurs and why the other options (crystallization, hydration, and stabilization) are not correct, let’s explore each aspect in detail.


Precipitation is the process by which solid particles, known as precipitates, are formed from a solution or a colloid. This occurs when certain substances become insoluble in the solvent and separate out as solid particles. In the context of hydrophilic colloids, which are substances that can disperse and stay suspended in water due to their affinity for water molecules, adding alcohol can disrupt the stability of the colloidal system.

When alcohol is added to a hydrophilic colloid, it acts as a destabilizing agent. Alcohol molecules are typically less polar and have a lower affinity for water compared to the hydrophilic colloidal particles.

As a result, alcohol competes with water molecules for interaction with the colloidal particles. This competition can lead to a decrease in the electrostatic repulsion forces that keep the colloidal particles dispersed in the solution.

As the electrostatic repulsion weakens due to the presence of alcohol, the colloidal particles may come closer together and eventually aggregate or clump together. This aggregation results in the formation of larger solid particles that are no longer uniformly distributed in the solution or colloid. These larger particles can settle at the bottom of the container, leading to precipitation.

Precipitation can be observed as the formerly stable colloid becomes less translucent or even cloudy due to the presence of these solid particles. In summary, when alcohol is added to a hydrophilic colloid, it can disrupt the colloidal stability, reduce the electrostatic repulsion between particles, and lead to the formation of solid precipitates.

Why the Other Options Are Not Correct:

A. Crystallization:

Crystallization is a process by which solute molecules or ions come together in a specific repeating pattern to form crystals. It occurs when a solution becomes saturated with a solute, causing the excess solute to form solid crystal structures.

Crystallization is typically associated with the cooling or evaporation of a solvent rather than the addition of alcohol to a colloid. Therefore, it is not the typical outcome when alcohol is added to a hydrophilic colloid.

B. Hydration:

Hydration is the process by which water molecules surround and interact with solute particles, keeping them dispersed and preventing aggregation. It is commonly observed in hydrophilic colloids, where water molecules form a stable hydration shell around the colloidal particles, helping to maintain their suspension.

Adding alcohol to a hydrophilic colloid is more likely to disrupt hydration by reducing the affinity for water, leading to destabilization and precipitation.

D. Stabilization:

Stabilization refers to the maintenance of the colloidal system’s stability, preventing aggregation or coagulation of the colloidal particles. While hydrophilic colloids are typically stabilized by the presence of water molecules forming a protective hydration layer, the addition of alcohol often has the opposite effect.

Alcohol can act as a destabilizing agent, reducing the stability of the colloid by weakening the electrostatic repulsion forces. This destabilization can result in precipitation rather than stabilization.

In conclusion, when alcohol is added to a hydrophilic colloid, the most likely outcome is the precipitation of solid particles due to the disruption of colloidal stability. This process involves the reduction of electrostatic repulsion forces, allowing colloidal particles to aggregate and settle out of the solution.

While crystallization, hydration, and stabilization are relevant processes in different contexts, they are not the primary outcomes when alcohol is introduced to a hydrophilic colloid. Understanding the interactions between solvents, colloidal particles, and additives like alcohol is crucial in various scientific and industrial applications where colloidal systems play a significant role.

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