Difference Between Mixtures vs Compounds

Difference Between Mixtures vs Compounds

The basic knowledge in science and chemistry tells us how every single object around us is made of matter, the smallest of which is an atom. An atom can exist on its own or in combination with another as an element, also known as a molecule. Identical molecules come together to form compounds and mixtures. The difference between mixtures and compounds seems quite confusing in some cases, which is what we are about to demystify in this post.

We will define these two terms in the most comprehensive manner possible and then try to point out how they are different from each other according to scientific reports. The basis of the difference between these two terms can be seen in their basic compositions, type of bonding, and the type of changes that take place in the process.

Definition of Mixture

Mixture is defined as the result of the physical combination of two or more substances in no particular order or quantity without any form of a chemical reaction. Since there is no chemically-induced reaction involved, the substance formed in impure in nature. There is no new substance formed at the end of the combination. This means that the substances can be separated using different physical methods like evaporation, filtration, chromatography, etc.

One major difference between compounds vs mixtures can be seen in their boiling points. The latter does not have any fixed boiling point considering the fact that it is impure and does not have any constant ratio, but the former does have a fixed boiling and melting point. The process of making a mixture does not require any form of energy, which is why there is usually no heat change recorded.

Some examples include:

  • Sand and water
  • Water and salt
  • Sugar and ice
  • Water vapor in the air
  • Oil and water
  • Mud and water

From the above, one can see that the constituents in the examples can be separated quite easily. There is no required ratio for making any of them. There are two different types: homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures.

Definition of Compound

A compound is the result of the chemical combination of two or more atoms of different elements. In this case, the process of formation involves a chemical reaction that results in an entirely new substance that is pure in itself. The properties of this new substance is different from that of the constituents – color, melting point, boiling point, smell, etc.

In mixtures vs compounds comparison, one can see how they differ from each other in their ability and inability to be separated. The former can be separated with the help of some simple separation technique, but the latter cannot be easily separated because the constituents have undergone a chemical reaction that gave rise to a chemical bond that cannot be easily broken.

Some examples include:

  • Sodium chloride or salt, formed from sodium and chloride
  • Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, formed from sodium and bicarbonate
  • Methane, formed from carbon and hydrogen

Note that each of these substances mentioned above has a particular formula and composition ratio.

Main Differences Between Mixtures vs Compounds

Basis of ComparisonMixturesCompounds
DefinitionThe result of the physical combination of two or more substances in no particular order or quantity without any form of a chemical reactionThe result of the chemical combination of two or more atoms of different elements
CompositionVariable ratioFixed ratio
Substance formedNo new substance formedNew substance formed
Nature of substanceImpurePure
SeparationBy physical methodsBy chemical or electro-chemical methods
Melting and boiling pointsVariesFixed

Difference Between Mixtures and Compounds: Conclusion

From a modest perspective, one can refer to the comparison between compound vs mixture as complex and simple events. In the latter, there is no need for a chemical reaction, no new substances are formed, the properties of the constituents remain the same, and they can be separated using simple physical separation methods.

This much cannot be said for the former, which requires a definite procedure and a chemical reaction to form a new substance whose properties are entirely different from the constituents.