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Are elements always pure substances?

Asked by J. Pollock, Last updated: Sep 08, 2020

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Larry Thornton

Larry Thornton

Curious about the World

Larry Thornton
Larry Thornton, Student, MBA, Los Angles

Answered Apr 17, 2019

Yes, there are two types of pure substances, compounds and elements. Elements consist of a single atom whereas compounds are made of molecules. If a substance consists of only one element or one compound, it is a pure substance. If it consists of two compounds or elements that have been mixed together in solution, than it is a mixture. Salt water is a solution containing dissolved salt (NaCl) and water. Since it consists of two compounds, it is a mixture and not a pure substance. Air is also a mixture since it is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and other trace gases in Earth’s atmosphere. An atmosphere consisting of 100% oxygen would represent a pure substance.

Yes, there are two types of pure substances, compounds and elements. Elements consist of a single
Pure substances have to be separated using complex physical methods. One method is through evaporation. If a solid at room temperature is mixed with water, for example, the water can be evaporated leaving behind the solid. This is how salt rock deposits, such as gypsum, are formed.

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