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Compound vs. Mixture

I am not scientifically inclined. In high school, half the Bs I ever got were in biology and chemistry. I even failed the second-semester chemistry final (so did everyone else, causing the teacher to throw it out and restore our grades to what they were).  In junior high (which was what it was called when I was in eighth grade), I only got an A in science because the science teacher took leave to act as school dean and his replacement was nicer and an easier grader.

With all that in mind, it never crossed my mind to know the difference between a compound and a mixture.

That is, until before my daughter went on winter break. She told me her science teacher taught her the difference between the two: A compound is made of ingredients that can’t be separated; a mixture is made of ingredients that can.

I checked the dictionary to verify. Sure enough, compound means “something formed by a union of elements or parts.” The key word is union. Once the ingredients form a union, they’re a whole.

Mixture means “a portion of matter consisting of two or more components in varying proportions that retain their own properties.” (italics added)

As proud of my daughter as I am, I don’t expect her to suddenly become a Caltech or MIT candidate. The closest she’ll come to either of those is watching “The Big Bang Theory.”

Until next time! Use the right words!


December 29, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

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