The word 'pure' is used in chemistry in a different way from its everyday meaning. For example, shops sell cartons labelled as 'pure' orange juice. The label means that the contents are just orange juice, with no other substances added. However, the juice is not pure in the chemical sense, because it contains different substances mixed together. In chemistry:
The table shows some examples:
Notice that the different substances in a mixture can be single atoms, molecules of elements or molecules of compounds.
Pure substances have a sharp melting point but mixtures melt over a range of temperatures. This difference is most easily seen when the temperature of a hot liquid is measured as it cools and freezes. The graph shows the cooling curve for a sample of a compound called salol.
The horizontal part of the graph shows that the salol has a sharp melting point, so it is pure. Impure salol (a mixture of salol and other substances) would produce a gradual decrease over a range of temperatures as it freezes.