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Mixtures vs. Compounds: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 22, 2024
Mixtures are combinations of substances where each substance retains its own properties; compounds are substances formed by the chemical union of two or more elements, resulting in a substance with different properties from its components.
Mixtures vs. Compounds

Key Differences

Mixtures are physical combinations of two or more substances where each retains its individual properties. Compounds, on the other hand, are formed when two or more elements chemically bond, resulting in a substance with properties distinct from its constituent elements.
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In mixtures, the components can be separated by physical methods like filtration or evaporation, as they do not chemically react with each other. Compounds require chemical reactions for separation, as the elements are chemically bonded.
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Mixtures can have variable compositions, meaning the ratio of their components can differ without changing the nature of the mixture. Compounds have a fixed composition with elements combined in definite ratios, determining their chemical properties.
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The properties of mixtures are often similar to the properties of their individual components. In compounds, the properties are usually very different from the elements that form them.
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Mixtures can be homogeneous (uniform composition throughout, like salt water) or heterogeneous (non-uniform composition, like a salad). Compounds are always homogeneous at the molecular level, with each molecule being identical to another.
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Bonding

No chemical bonding between components.
Chemical bonds form between elements.
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Composition

Variable composition.
Fixed, definite composition.
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Separation

Can be separated by physical methods.
Require chemical reactions for separation.
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Properties

Retain the properties of individual components.
Have different properties from their constituent elements.
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Homogeneity

Can be homogeneous or heterogeneous.
Always homogeneous at the molecular level.
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Mixtures and Compounds Definitions

Mixtures

Mixtures maintain the properties of their individual constituents.
A mixture of iron filings and sulfur powder can be magnetically separated.
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Compounds

A compound is a substance formed when two or more elements are chemically bonded.
Water (H2O) is a compound made from hydrogen and oxygen.
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Mixtures

A mixture is a combination of two or more substances not chemically bonded.
Air is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases.
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Compounds

Compounds have a fixed, definite composition.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) always contains carbon and oxygen in a 1:2 ratio.
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Mixtures

Mixtures can be separated into their components by physical means.
Sand and salt mixed together can be separated by dissolving in water and then filtering.
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Compounds

Compounds are created and decomposed through chemical reactions.
Photosynthesis in plants forms glucose (C6H12O6), a compound, from carbon dioxide and water.
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Mixtures

In mixtures, the proportion of components can vary.
A lemonade can have varying amounts of sugar and lemon juice.
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Compounds

Compounds are homogeneous at the molecular level.
Every molecule of acetic acid (CH3COOH) in vinegar is identical.
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Mixtures

Mixtures can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous.
A smoothie is a homogeneous mixture of fruits and milk.
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Compounds

The properties of a compound differ from those of its constituent elements.
Sodium chloride (table salt) is edible, unlike its components, sodium and chlorine.
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Mixtures

The act or process of mixing
An alloy made from the mixture of two metals.
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Compounds

To combine so as to form a whole; mix
Tin was often compounded with lead to make pewter.
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Mixtures

The condition of being mixed
The inevitable mixture of different cultures in big cities.
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Compounds

To produce or create by combining two or more ingredients or parts; compose or make up
Pharmacists compounding prescriptions.
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Mixtures

A combination of ingredients used in cooking or baking.
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Compounds

To settle (a debt, for example) by agreeing on an amount less than the claim; adjust.
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Mixtures

One that consists of diverse elements
The day was a mixture of sun and clouds.
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Compounds

To compute (interest) on the principal and accrued interest.
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Mixtures

A fabric made of different kinds of thread or yarn.
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Compounds

To add to or intensify so as to make worse
"The university authorities ... compounded their crime in dismissing [the professor] by denying that their action ... reflected any abridgment of academic freedom" (John Kenneth Galbraith).
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Mixtures

(Chemistry) A composition of two or more substances that are not chemically combined with each other and are capable of being separated.
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Compounds

To make worse by being an additional or intensifying factor
High winds compounded the difficulties of the firefighters.
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Mixtures

Plural of mixture
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Compounds

To combine in or form a compound.
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Compounds

To come to terms; agree.
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Compounds

Consisting of two or more substances, ingredients, elements, or parts.
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Compounds

(Botany) Composed of more than one part
A compound pistil.
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Compounds

A combination of two or more elements or parts.
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Compounds

(Linguistics) A word that consists either of two or more elements that are independent words, such as loudspeaker, self-portrait, or high school, or of specially modified combining forms of words, such as Greek philosophia, from philo-, "loving," and sophia, "wisdom."
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Compounds

(Chemistry) A pure, macroscopically homogeneous substance consisting of atoms or ions of two or more different elements in definite proportions that cannot be separated by physical means. A compound usually has properties unlike those of its constituent elements.
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Compounds

A building or buildings, especially a residence or group of residences, set off and enclosed by a barrier.
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Compounds

An enclosed area used for confining prisoners of war.
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Compounds

Plural of compound
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Compounds

Infl of compound
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can components of a mixture be separated?

Yes, by physical methods like filtration or distillation.
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How are mixtures classified?

Into homogeneous (uniform) and heterogeneous (non-uniform) mixtures.
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Do mixtures have a fixed composition?

No, the proportions of components in a mixture can vary.
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Are mixtures chemically bonded?

No, the components in mixtures are not chemically bonded.
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What is a compound?

A substance formed from two or more elements chemically bonded together.
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Can compounds be separated into their elements easily?

No, compounds require chemical reactions for separation.
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How do compounds differ from their constituent elements?

Compounds have different properties than their individual elements.
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Are all compounds homogeneous?

Yes, compounds are homogeneous at the molecular level.
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What is a mixture?

A combination of two or more substances where each keeps its own properties.
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Are the boiling points of compounds constant?

Yes, compounds have characteristic boiling points.
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Is the density of a compound the same as its elements?

No, it's often different from the density of its constituent elements.
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Are the melting points of mixtures constant?

No, mixtures do not have a fixed melting point.
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Can mixtures conduct electricity?

It depends on the nature of the components.
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Do compounds have a variable composition?

No, compounds have a fixed, definite ratio of elements.
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Can elements in a compound be physically separated?

No, they can only be separated by chemical means.
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Are mixtures always safe to handle?

Not always, it depends on the nature of the components.
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Feb 22, 2024

Do mixtures require specific conditions to form?

No, they can form under various conditions.
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Can a mixture be a single phase?

Yes, homogeneous mixtures are single-phase.
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Can a compound exist in different phases?

Yes, but its composition remains the same in all phases.
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Are all compounds colorless?

No, compounds can have various colors.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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