Compound vs. Mixture

What is the difference between compound and mixture?

Many terms that are used in chemistry are also commonplace in our daily lives. Two such terms are compound and mixture. This is because the complicated details of the combination and breakdown of certain chemicals make up the major part of the physical aspects of human life. Chemistry plays a vital role in health, education, technology and many other fields. The production of food and medicine, for example, all involve chemistry. The presence of compounds and mixtures occur in almost every aspect.

What is a chemical compound?

A chemical compound is a combination of two or more chemical elements that make a pure material when they bond through a chemical procedure. An element is very basic and simple because it has only one atom and electrons. Therefore, a compound is much more complex than an element. Chemical formulas help to show how this bonding develops. Different types of bonding create a compound:

  • Iconic forms salts
  • Covalent forms molecular compounds, and
  • Metallic forms inter-metallic compounds

The temperature at which the chemicals are combines also determines their form. They can become solids, liquids or gases.  Ordinary chemical compounds include such examples as table salt and water.

What is a chemical mixture?

A chemical mixture is not a pure substance. A compound, which is a pure substance, has a constant composition. Mixtures can be created physically and separated physically without using any chemical processes. Each substance that is mixed with another retains its own identity and is not changed in any way.

Mixtures are either homogenous or heterogeneous. It can also be classified in two ways:

  • Alloy in which one or more elements are combine to form a solid
  • Suspension in which there are colloids (solid bits) in fluid

Some of the common mixtures that can be found in every household are milk and dishwashing liquid.

The difference between a chemical compound and a chemical mixture

The main difference between compound and mixture is that in a mixture the elements can be separated on combined and still retain their own identity. Mixing them together does not alter the composition of either one. In a chemical compound, it takes a lot of energy to combine or separate the elements. The result of the combination is that it creates a new substance that has a different composition from either of the elements used in the combination.


Compounds and mixtures are different in the manner in which they can be separated. Although they produce different results, these results are quite common in our everyday lives.