In chemistry, a mixture is a material made up of two or more different substances which are physically combined. A mixture is the physical combination of two or more substances in which the identities are retained and are mixed in the form of solutions, suspensions and colloids.
Mixtures are one product of mechanically blending or mixing chemical substances such as elements and compounds, without chemical bonding or other chemical change, so that each ingredient substance retains its own chemical properties and makeup. Despite the fact that there are no chemical changes to its constituents, the physical properties of a mixture, such as its melting point, may differ from those of the components. Some mixtures can be separated into their components by using physical (mechanical or thermal) means. Azeotropes are one kind of mixture that usually poses considerable difficulties regarding the separation processes required to obtain their constituents (physical or chemical processes or, even a blend of them).
Mixtures can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous. A mixture in which its constituents are distributed uniformly is called homogeneous mixture, such as salt in water. A mixture in which its constituents are not distributed uniformly is called heterogeneous mixture, such as sand in water.
One example of a mixture is air. Air is a homogeneous mixture of the gaseous substances nitrogen, oxygen, and smaller amounts of other substances. Salt, sugar, and many other substances dissolve in water to form homogeneous mixtures. A homogeneous mixture in which there is both a solute and solvent present is also a solution. Mixtures can have any amounts of ingredients.
A heterogeneous mixture is a mixture of two or more chemical substances (elements or compounds). Examples are: mixtures of sand and water or sand and iron filings, a conglomerate rock, water and oil, a portion salad, trail mix, and concrete (not cement). A mixture of powdered silver metal and powdered gold metal would represent a heterogeneous mixture of two elements.
Making a distinction between homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures is a matter of the scale of sampling. On a coarse enough scale, any mixture can be said to be homogeneous, if the entire article is allowed to count as a "sample" of it. On a fine enough scale, any mixture can be said to be heterogeneous, because a sample could be as small as a single molecule. In practical terms, if the property of interest of the mixture is the same regardless of which sample of it is taken for the examination used, the mixture is homogeneous.