What are the main differences between elements, compounds, and mixtures?

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A substance can be classified as either an element, compound or mixture. These three are markedly different from each other.

  • An element is the purest form of matter and consists of identical atoms. A compound is made up of 2 or more elements in a fixed ratio. A mixture is...

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A substance can be classified as either an element, compound or mixture. These three are markedly different from each other.

  • An element is the purest form of matter and consists of identical atoms. A compound is made up of 2 or more elements in a fixed ratio. A mixture is made up of 2 or more elements or compounds in a non-fixed ratio.
  • An element retains the properties of its constituents, that is, atoms. A compound does not retain the properties of its constituents and hence the constituents lose their properties. In the case of a mixture, all the constituents still retain their properties. 
  • An element cannot be broken down into its constituents by either physical or chemical means. The constituents of a compound can be separated by chemical means, while those of a mixture can be separated by physical means. 
  • Examples:
  1. Element: iron, hydrogen, carbon, etc.
  2. Compound: water, carbon dioxide, methane, etc.
  3. Mixture: trail-mix.

Hope this helps. 

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