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Elements, Compounds and Mixtures – Chemistry

Elements are the substances which cannot be chemically broken down further as they are the simplest form of matter. The periodic table in chemistry shows some hundred elements and each of these elements are arranged according to their Atomic number.

For example :

We have taken two elements from the table, Magnesium and Sulphur:  
·    If we look at their structure then all the atoms would be the same which means elements comprise of the same atoms in its structure .
·   Also each element in the periodic table is denoted by a symbol and the first letter is written in capital.  

Image source: sciencenotes.org


Compounds are chemically defined as the substance which contain two or more than two elements combined chemically to each other.
For example : if we combine the two elements Magnesium and Sulphur, it will form Magnesium Sulphide.

Magnesium + Sulphur = Magnesium Sulphur
· Also in a compound the elements are always combined in a fixed ratio.
· To separate the elements from the compound, chemical process is required as it cannot be separated manually anymore.


Mixtures are substance in which elements and compounds are both mixed together in unequal proportion. Physical techniques are used to separate the mixture of different elements and compounds. 

Example: Filtration, Distillation and Crystallisation.

Interpretation of Chemical Formula

Every symbol begins with a capital letter and some have a second lower case letter.
Example: Sulphur has a symbol S, Magnesium has a symbol Mg.
The chemical formula of compounds tell us about the number of present atoms of that element in the compound.
Changing the number on the right hand side of an element in a compound, changes its name and chemical nature too.
Example : MgS is the formula for Magnesium Sulphide and there is no number to the right of Magnesium which means it has one atom. Na₂SO₄ is the formula for Sodium Sulphate. 2 is written on the right hand side of Sodium which means Sodium has has 2 atoms per compound. There is nothing written on the right hand side of Sulphate which means sulphate is present as a single entity.

Mahima Laroyia, is an Oxford Postgraduate in Integrative Biosciences who has more than 8 years of tutoring experience in tutoring students Maths and Sciences from KS2 up to A-levels. She specializes in providing custom and tailor made study materials to school students to make Maths and Sciences easier and fun.Find me at: www.expertguidance.co.uk 


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