Scientific Difference between Mixtures and Compounds

Compounds and mixtures are two scientific terms that mean two different things but yet there is confusion between the two terms.

Every physical object occupies space and it has weight, or are made of matter. Matter is any object that can be touched or can be seen. This can then be classified as either an element, a compound or as a mixture.

There are over one hundred basic substances. Each of these substances are made up of atoms that form matter. Compounds and mixtures are made up of these substances.

When there is a chemical union between separate elements, it is called a compound. At times these elements may be called ingredients or parts. A compound occurs when different elements of matter come together in fixed proportions. The separate elements no longer have their individual properties, plus to separate the parts would require a large amount of energy.

When two or more different materials come together and there is no chemical reaction, it becomes a mixture. The ingredients have not experienced any chemical bonding and the individual materials keep their own properties. This makes it possible to separate the original elements back into their individual parts. When a mixture is created, the molecules of the substances may form alloys, solutions, suspensions and colloids.

In the creation of a compound, energy is either absorbed or given off. Compounds also require a chemical reaction. This is not the case with a mixture. When a mixture is created, the energy remains the same and it can be made mechanically.

A chemical reaction is also required to separate the parts of a compound, but a mixture’s elements can be separated physically, Some of the physical processes used to separate mixtures are evaporation, filtering or through a magnetic force.

The properties of a compound are different physically and chemically from its individual elements. The particles are also of the same kind and they are homogeneous. A mixture’s properties are similar to the separate parts of which it was made and the kind of particles that make up a compound may or may not be homogeneous.

Pure water is a good example of a compound when hydrogen and oxygen are combined in a specific proportion. This creates a covalent bond because the parts are non-metals which are joined together. Table salt is also a compound. Sodium and chlorine, when combined, form the ionic compound sodium chloride. Separately, these two elements can harm an individual. Table salt or sodium chloride can be dissolved in water to form a brine, which is a mixture. Both substances can be separated when they go through a distillation or crystallization process. An ionic compound is made of positive and negative ions that combine together by adding or subtracting electrons from neutral atoms and molecules.

An example of a mixture would be mixing a plain box of cereal with raisins. They can be mixed together, yet they still retain their original forms and they can be separated manually.