Compound Vs. Mixture: 12 Differences & 5 Similarities

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What Are Compounds?

Compounds are substances that are made up of two or more elements that are chemically combined in ratios or fixed proportions.  Chemical compounds have a unique and definite chemical structure held together in a definite spatial arrangement by chemical bonds. In this regard, there are four types of compounds, depending on how the constituent atoms are held together:

  • Molecules held together by covalent bonds
  • Ionic compounds held together by ionic bonds
  • Intermetallic compounds held together by metallic bonds
  • Certain complexes held together by coordinate covalent bonds.

Compounds can also be classified as organic or inorganic compounds based on the presence of carbon atom. It is important to note that, two atoms of the same element bonded in a molecule do not form a chemical compound, since a compound is a combination of two different elements.

Examples of compounds are:

  • Salt (NaCl)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Methane
  • Water
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Potassium chloride
  • Magnesium oxide or zinc oxide

Elements in any compound are always present in a fixed ratios or proportion. For example:

  • Pure water is a compound made from two elements (Hydrogen and water), the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen in water is always 2:1. Each molecule of water contains two hydrogen atoms bonded to a single oxygen atom.
  • Pure glucose is a compound made from three elements (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen). The ratio of hydrogen to carbon and oxygen in glucose is always 2:1:1.
  • Pure methane is a compound made from two elements (carbon and hydrogen). The ratio of hydrogen to carbon in methane is always 4:1.
  • Pure table salt is a compound made from two elements (sodium and chlorine). The ratio of sodium ions to chloride ions in sodium chloride compound is 1:1.

 Characteristics You Need To Know About Compounds

  1. Compounds are substances that are made up of two or more elements that are chemically combined in ratios or fixed proportions.
  2. The melting and boiling points of a compound is always defined, they can be boiled or melted at a definite temperature.
  3. Compounds can be categorized into three types: Covalent compounds, metallic compounds and ionic compounds. Also they can be classified as organic or inorganic compounds based on the presence of carbon atom.
  4. The constituents or components of a compound can only be separated by either chemical or electrochemical methods such as extraction.
  5. The constituents of compounds cannot be identified visually and lose their individual identities.
  6. A compound is a pure substance, which only contains one kind of molecule.
  7. All compounds have fixed properties i.e have a definite chemical composition whereas; mixtures do not have fixed properties (the composition of mixture is variable).
  8. A new substance is formed after the constituents are chemically combined and in this regard, a compound will definitely have different properties from its original constituents.
  9. Compounds have a definite chemical composition.
  10. During chemical combination effects such as evolution of heat, odor, explosion, volume changes and emissions may be observed.
  11. In a compound, there is strong bonding between the elements and an observable chemical reaction.

What Is A Mixture?

A mixture is a substance made up of two or more different substances in which the identities are retained. In other words, a chemical reaction does not occur between components of a mixture. Despite the fact that there are no chemical changes to its constituents, the physical properties of a mixture, such as its melting point, may differ from those of the components. Some mixtures can be separated into their constituents by use of physical means (mechanical or thermal). Mixtures can be in the form of solutions, suspensions and colloids. Examples of mixtures include:

  • Sugar and water
  • Blood
  • Sand and water
  • Salt and sand
  • Marble and salt
  • Smoke
  • Air
  • Gold powder and nuggets
  • Liquid and gas
  • Oil and Water
  • Smog (smoke and fog)
  • Maize and beans

Mixtures are broadly classified into two categories. Mixtures can either be homogeneous or heterogeneous. A homogenous mixture, is a mixture in which constituents are distributed uniformly such as salt in water, whereas a heterogeneous mixture is one in which constituents are not distributed uniformly, such as sand in water.

Characteristics You Need To Know About Mixtures

  1. Mixtures on the other hand, are made up of two or more substances that are not chemically combined. They can be mixed in any proportion.
  2. The melting and melting points of a mixture is not always defined, mixtures can be boiled or melted at different temperatures.
  3. Mixtures are mainly categorized into two types: homogeneous mixtures and heterogeneous mixtures.
  4. The constituents or components of a mixture can easily be separated by physical methods such as filtration or distillation.
  5. The constituents of mixtures do not lose their individual identities, they can be identified visually.
  6. A mixture is an impure substance which contains various types of molecules.
  7. The properties of mixtures heavily depend on the nature and combination ratios of the constituents.
  8. No new substance is formed after constituents are combined to form a mixture and in this regard, the properties of the mixture will definitely depend upon the properties of its constituents.
  9. The composition of a mixture is variable.
  10. During mixing of a mixture only volume changes will be noticed. Effects such as explosion, evolution of heat, emissions and odor are necessarily not observed.
  11. There is no chemical reaction or bonding between elements in a mixture.

Also Read: Difference Between Organic And Inorganic Compound

The Differences Between Mixture And Compound In Tabular Form

Points of Difference Compound Mixture
Definition Compounds are substances that are made up of two or more elements that are chemically combined in ratios or fixed proportions. Mixtures on the other hand, are made up of two or more substances that are not chemically combined. They can be mixed in any proportion.
Melting and Boiling Points The melting and boiling points of a compound is always defined, they can be boiled or melted at a definite temperature. The melting and melting points of a mixture is not always defined, mixtures can be boiled or melted at different temperatures.  
Types Can be categorized into three types: Covalent compounds, metallic compounds and ionic compounds. Also they can be classified as organic or inorganic compounds based on the presence of carbon atom. Mixtures are mainly categorized into two types: homogeneous mixtures and heterogeneous mixtures.  
Separation of Constituents The constituents or components of a compound can only be separated by either chemical or electrochemical methods such as extraction. The constituents or components of a mixture can easily be separated by physical methods such as filtration or distillation.
Constituents The constituents of compounds cannot be identified visually and lose their individual identities. The constituents of mixtures do not lose their individual identities, they can be identified visually.  
Purity A compound is a pure substance, which only contains one kind of molecule. A mixture is an impure substance which contains various types of molecules.  
Properties All compounds have fixed properties. Mixtures do not have fixed properties
Formation of a New Substance A new substance is formed after the constituents are chemically combined and in this regard, a compound will definitely have different properties from its original constituents. No new substance is formed after constituents are combined to form a mixture and in this regard, the properties of the mixture will definitely depend upon the properties of its constituents.  
Examples Salt (NaCl), hydrogen peroxide, Baking soda, Methane, water, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide or zinc oxide Oil and water, sand and water, smog (smoke and fog), sugar and salt, maize and beans, alcohol and water etc.
Chemical Composition Compounds have a definite chemical composition. The composition of a mixture is variable.
Effects of Combination During chemical combination effects such as evolution of heat, odor, explosion, volume changes and emissions may be observed. During mixing of a mixture only volume changes will be noticed. Effects such as explosion, evolution of heat, emissions and odor are necessarily not observed.  
Chemical Reaction and Bonding In a compound, there is strong bonding between the elements and an observable chemical reaction. There is no chemical reaction or bonding between elements in a mixture.

Also Read: Difference Between Alloy, Composite And Compound

What are the 5 Similarities Between Mixtures and Compounds?

  1. Both mixture and compound can be heterogeneous.
  2. Both compound and mixture are combined in a definite ratio or in any proportion.
  3. Both compound and mixture consist of two or more substances/elements.
  4. Both compounds and mixtures have physical and chemical properties.
  5. The constituents or components of a mixture and compound can easily be separated.

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