Difference Between Aerosol and Droplet

By: | Updated: Feb-19, 2022
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You know solid, liquid, and gas? It turns out that they are not the only variety of forms exist in this world. They can be differentiated more into sub-categories, like aerosol and droplets.

In this article, we are going to differentiate aerosols and droplets. Read on to find out more about these two forms of matter.

Aerosol Droplet
Suspension of fine solid or liquid particles in a gas. Small globule of liquid.
Typically smaller (<1 micrometer). Larger than aerosol (1-100 micrometer).
Created by mechanical processes such as spraying or by the natural process of diffusion and sedimentation. Created by condensation from vapor, but also can be formed by precipitation.
Can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline. Always neutral.
Has a wide variety of shapes. Is always in spheres.

Difference Between Aerosol and Droplet

An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid or liquid particles in a gas. A droplet is a small globule of liquid, typically one that is produced by condensation of vapor. Vapor is a gas that is liquid or solid at a particular temperature.

Aerosol particles are typically smaller than droplets. Aerosols can be created by mechanical processes such as spraying or by the natural processes of diffusion and sedimentation. Droplets are typically created by condensation from vapor, but can also be formed by precipitation, by the freezing of a liquid, or by the breakup of a solid.

Particles in an aerosol can be of a wide variety of shapes, including spheres, rods, and disks. Droplets are always spheres. Aerosols can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline. Droplets are always neutral. Examples of aerosol particles include smoke, fog, and haze. Examples of droplets include rain, snow, and sleet.

Some aerosol particles, such as those from an insecticide, can be harmful if inhaled. Droplets, such as those from a rainstorm, can be refreshing if you get caught in them.

Droplets are typically larger than aerosol particles, and they are also more likely to fall out of the air under the force of gravity. This is why it is easier to avoid getting wet during a rainstorm than it is to avoid breathing in insecticide fumes. 

Smaller particles tend to remain in the air for a longer time than larger particles. This is why it is important to avoid breathing in insecticide fumes, which contain small particles, for a long time.

People also use the term aerosol to describe products that release a fine mist, such as air fresheners, deodorants, and hairspray. Hairspray is a good example of how an aerosol can be useful. The small particles in the spray help to hold the hairstyle in place.

Size of aerosol particles is less than 1 micrometer, while size of droplets is around 1-100 micrometers. Micrometers (μm) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one millionth of a meter (0.000001 meter). Imagine the size of a human hair which is about 100 micrometers wide.

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