Mixtures vs. Compounds

Find out what is a mixture, what is a compound, and the difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures in this tutorial.

What is a Mixture?

A mixture refers to a physical combination of two or more substances, where no reaction occurs. Because only a physical change occurred, a mixture can separate back into its original components. For example, saltwater is a mixture. When you boil it, the water evaporates while the salt stays behind. Others include salt and oil, cereal in milk, and ice cubes in soda. Air is also a mixture of gases.

There are two primary types of mixtures: heterogeneous and homogeneous.

What is a Heterogeneous Mixture?

hererogeneous mixture vs homogeneous mixture

A heterogeneous mixture has a non-uniform composition where you can easily discern every component in a mixture. For instance, a salad would be a heterogeneous mixture as you can see its every ingredient (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) by naked eyes.

What is a Homogeneous Mixture?

A homogenous Mixture has a uniform composition where the components are evenly distributed in a mixture. Therefore, you cannot distinguish the components. A smoothie would be a homogenous mixture as you cannot identify its ingredients by just looking at it. 

What is a Compound?

Before we dive into the detail, we should know what pure substance is. A pure substance is composed of only one kind of matter and has a constant composition and properties. A pure substance can be either an element or a compound.   

So what is a compound? A compound refers to a chemical combination of two or more elements, where a reaction occurs. A compound cannot be broken down into its original components by physical methods. For example, you cannot physically separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Other examples include sugar, table salt (NaCl), baking soda (NaHCO3), carbon dioxide, etc. 


what is a compound, what is a mixture

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