Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Home > Science > Chemical and material behaviour > Compounds and mixtures


Compounds and mixtures



Can you recognise elements, compounds and mixtures?

  • An element contains just one type of atom.

  • A compound contains two or more types of atom joined together.

  • A mixture contains two or more different substances that are not joined together.

  • The different substances in a mixture can be elements or compounds.

The table shows some examples.

Description Example Diagram
Pure element oxygen oxygen atoms in pairs
Pure compound carbon dioxide Two oxygen atoms and one carbon atom joined together
Mixture of elements oxygen and helium Oxygen and helium elements
Mixture of compounds alcohol and water Water and alcohol compounds
Mixture of elements and compounds air Air made from water compounds, oxygen elements, carbon dioxie compounds, and nitrogen elements

Notice that the different substances in a mixture can be single atoms, molecules of elements or molecules of compounds.


Compounds and mixtures activity

How will you react to this activity?



Can you conquer the elements?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.