The key difference between mixtures and compounds is that compounds are chemically joined, whereas mixtures are simply physically intermingled. Compounds are pure substances consisting of two or more chemically combined elements. Elements in a compound always come in fixed proportions and cannot be separated unless the compound is obliterated. Mixtures are not chemically combined and can be separated into their constituent parts.Continue Reading
Because mixtures do not chemically combine two or more items, they do not form new substances; their properties are dependent on their components and the ratios in which they are mixed together. Conversely, compounds chemically bond in fixed proportions and can possess different properties from their constituents.
Utilizing the law of constant composition is the most effective way to distinguish between compounds and mixtures. The law of constant composition states that the ratio by mass is always the same in a compound. Water is an example of a compound because it always contains 88.8 percent oxygen and 11.2 hydrogen by weight regardless of source. Crude oil is an example of a mixture because it is comprised of an assortment of organic compounds that can separate and come in different concentrations.
Other examples of mixtures include common items such as a salad or sandwich. These food options contain separate vegetables, starches, meats and cheeses that are chemically mixed together but can be easily separated. Other examples of compounds include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen peroxide.Learn more about Solutions & Mixtures