Difference Between Compound and Mixture


Main Difference

Two terms which are frequently used in chemistry are compound and mixture, they are similar yet different from each other, and their differences will be stated in the following lines in detail to understand them in a better way. There are many definitions of these two terms which can be confusing but to explain them in simple words, compounds are substances that do not have variable composition while mixtures consist of variable forms. The best example of a compound can be water which is composed of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, the structure of water throughout is similar and all the particles are combined in a proper way. One the other hand, the best example of the mixture will be a perfume which consists of different substances added together. There is no good structure, two different materials can be mixed in any proportion, and they do not have to be same. Another example is ocean which has a different concentration at various places and is not always equally distributed. There are other ways to explain the difference between the two terms. Compounds, for instance, can be termed as substances which are made up of two or more elements which have been added with the help of a chemical method while mixture can be called an element which has been made by two or more elements which have been added together in a physical way. For compounds, they can have their own properties, but when they are mixed together, all of them start showing the same quantities with each one of them having different but fixed proportions. On the other hand, for a mixture when two substances are added together they do not form a new substance, in fact, several types of materials can be gained from it. Another difference between them is that mixtures have elements which have been added together can be separated again with the help of any physical method. While the elements of a compound can also be separated but with the support of a chemical reaction. A brief description of both these terms is given below.

Comparison Chart

PuritySubstances which are pure in every waySubstance which is always impure.
CombinationTwo or more substances which are mixed together with the help of a chemical reactionTwo or more substances which are mixed together with the support of a physical process.
PropertiesDepend on the two elementsVariable and depend on some items
RelationMay or may not be different to its elementsProperties of a mixture are always same as its elements.

Definition of Compound

In simple words, compounds can be defined as two or more elements which are combined together. For a more technical definition, the compound can be something which is a combination of two or more elements which are chemically combined with each other. The components react chemically are formed bonds between each other Compounds are always pure substances which have distinct properties. They are added in fixed amounts, and their properties are similar at all points within themselves. Once they are joined together, the original elements don’t have their properties anymore and show new features. For example, in water, hydrogen and oxygen, which have different properties are joined together and result in new properties which are neither like oxygen nor like hydrogen. If there is a need for the reversible reaction, it is only possible in a chemical way, these cannot be separated with any physical reaction. Another important in this regard is salt which is constituted of different elements such as sodium chloride, calcium silicate, and potassium iodide. They are different but join together to form a salt, if a chemical reaction is done on salt, all these constituents can be obtained again.


Definition of Mixture

Mixtures are the easiest things to find, they are everywhere. From creating a drink to adding different colors together. A mixture can be defined as a combination of two or more elements which are joined together to form another substance with the help of a physical reaction. Because it is a physical reaction, the properties of the mixture are similar to that of the elements added. To obtain these features back, one has to do a physical process. The substances have to be in proper proportion to get the required part. No new material can be formed in a mixture, the originally added ones retain their properties and are present in different ratios. This is what differentiates them from compounds, they are random processes with no fixed methods being used, from two elements by mixing them differently, separate substances can be obtained. Therefore, a simple definition of the mixture will be the formation of a material by adding two other elements which are distinct from each other.

Differences in a Nutshell

  • Compounds are substances which are pure in every way. The mixture is a substance which is always impure.
  • Compounds are two or more substances which are mixed together with the help of a chemical reaction while the mixture is two or more substances which are mixed together with the support of a physical process.
  • Compounds always have a fixed ratio; mixture never has a fixed rate.
  • Compounds have properties which depend on the two elements. The mixture has properties which are variable and depend on some items.
  • The components of a compound can be separated with the chemical reaction only; The elements of a mixture can only be separated with a physical action.
  • Properties of a compound may or may not be different to its elements; Properties of a mixture are always same as its elements.


There are many terms which can give the impression that they have the same meaning but in actual are very different from each other, compound and mixture are these terms which have been explained in this article and the concepts have been made clearer for people who do not generally know much about them.


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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss