What are the differences between mixtures and compounds?

Quick answer:

The difference between compounds and mixtures is that compounds are chemically combined and mixtures are not.

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If you're trying to find a way to remember how to tell compounds from mixtures, just remember that compounds don't have variable composition and mixtures do. For example, water is always composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom per molecule. Every particle of water in a sample is identical. Compounds are made of identical molecules. Mixtures, on the other hand, are made of more than one type of particle mixed together so the composition can vary. Rubbing alcohol can be obtained as 70% isopropanol/30% water and as 90% isopropanol/10% water. Any proportion of water and alcohol is possible as they completely dissolve in all proportions. Salts have limited solubility in water, but their proportions can still vary. An an example, the salinity of ocean water varies by location.

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There exists several characteristics that make the difference between a mixture and a compound.

A mixture can contain components in any proportions while a compound contains components in fixed proportions.

All components in a mixture do not chemically react, while the components in a compound do react and their original properties are lost.

The separation of a mixture in its components is made by physical means while the separation of a compound in its components is possible only by chemical means.

There exists chemical reactions when a compound is formed while in the formation of a mixture chemical reactions are not involved.

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