What is the difference between a compound and a mixture?

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justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When two or more substances are present together but are not chemically combined with each other, it is referred to as a mixture. A mixture can exist as a solution, a suspension, or a colloid. Examples of mixtures are common salt dissolved in water, in this there is no chemical bonding between the salt molecules and molecules of water. An example of a suspension is the state achieved when pressurized gas is released in the air. There is no linkage between the gas released and the air and it will eventually settle down if it is heavier than air or rise upwards. An example of a colloid is milk. This consists of many chemical substances though none of them are chemically bonded with each other. Milk will remain in this state for a long time, until it starts to spoil or an acid is added at which point the protein separates and the liquid left is known as whey.

A compound refers to a unit formed by two or more atoms that are chemically bonded to each other. The bonding is a way by which atoms are able to achieve a stable electron configuration. Chemical bonds are broadly classified into covalent and ionic.

When a compound is formed, the new substance created has entirely different properties from those of the constituent particles. A mixture on the other hand continues to have the same properties as the substances it is composed of.

lg3746423 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A mixture is when two substances can be combined and separated (like oil and water). A compound is when two substances can be combined but not separated (like sugar and water).

rachellopez | Student

A mixture is when two or more elements, also known as substances, are mixed together. Mixtures, however, are not chemically bonded, meaning they can be separated. A compound on the other hand is when two elements undergo a chemical reaction. The reaction creates an entirely new substance.

sid-sarfraz | Student

Mixture is a combination of two or more substances keeping their original properties, that can be separated by physical or chemical methods. Like Salt and Water, Sugar and salt, water and oil.

Compound is a combination of two or more elements chemically bonded, forming a new element with entirely different properties, that cannot be separated by any method. Like water.

ssarfraz | Student


A compound is a substance that results when 2 or more chemicals are combined together.

For example water is a compound formed when 2 elements hydrogen and oxygen are combined in the ratio 2:1. Meaning that 2 molecules of hydrogen and 1 molecule of oxygen are combined to form water.


In chemistry, a compound is a substance that results from a combination of two or more different chemical element s, in such a way that the atom s of the different elements are held together by chemical bonds that are difficult to break. These bonds form as a result of the sharing or exchange of electron s among the atoms. The smallest unbreakable unit of a compound is called a molecule .


A mixture is a combination of two or more substances that are combined BUT not chemically and can be separated again.

Examples include:-

  • Combination of salt and water
  • Combination of salt and sugar


Mixture is when two or more substances which have been combined such that each substance retains its own chemical identity.


Please see the attached table for differences.


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lauleepops | Student

A compound is a substance that can be separated into simpler substances only by chemical means. Compounds are composed of two or more substances that when combined, lose their individual properties and constitute an entirely different substance. Examples are water and sodium chloride.

A mixture, on the other hand, is made up of substances of variable composition. Substances in a mixture continue to retain their individual properties and can be separated physically. Mixtures are classified into two kinds: heterogeneous and homogeneous. The former is nonuniform and has distinct phases while the latter is uniform and can also be called a solution.

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