What is the difference between mixtures, compounds and elements?


Quick Answer

An element is a simple substance that is made from one type of atom and cannot be broken down into simpler components by chemical or physical means. A mixture is made from two or more substances that are chemically different and are not chemically joined. A compound is a substance formed when two or more elements chemically react with each other to form chemical bonds between their atoms.

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Full Answer

Compounds can be classified as pure substances because each element that formed it is in fixed proportions; therefore it has a definite chemical composition. Mixtures are considered impure substances because no new substance is formed, therefore they do not have any fixed properties. The properties of a mixture are dependent on the individual components that formed it and the ratio with which they combined.

The components of a compound can only be separated using chemical methods. The constituents of a mixture can be separated using physical methods. For example, a mixture of copper and phosphorus can be separated using a magnet but the same cannot be done for copper phosphide. A common example of a mixture is air. Carbon dioxide is a good example of compound. All the elements known to man are listed in the periodic table.

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