What is a chemically pure substance?

A chemically pure substance is a pure element or compound composed of only one kind of material, with no other chemical added to it. In short, these substances are free from contaminants. The chemical composition of such substance is definite and constant throughout, and have distinct chemical properties. In the case of a mixture of two chemically pure substance, it is considered pure as long as the composition of all phases (solid, liquid, and gas) is the same.

Properties of pure chemical substances

  • Pure substances are mainly homogeneous, i.e., containing only one type of atoms or molecules.
  • They have constant physical and chemical properties.
  • The pure substances possess definite and constant composition throughout.
  • They have fixed melting and boiling points.
  • The products formed during the chemical reaction of a pure substance is predictable.

Pure substances are in huge demand in the chemical industry for the production of chemicals in pharmaceutical, agricultural, nutraceutical, and even generic commodity chemicals. Based on the degree of purity, pure chemicals are classified into different chemical grades. The high-purity grade is used in the manufacturing of food and medicines, as they are directly linked to the health and well-being of humans and any kind of compromise is strictly prohibited. The growing demand for pure chemicals for the pharmaceutical market alone marked $78.20 billion in 2016, which is expected to further grow in the coming years.

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Example of a chemically pure substance

Almost all elements are pure substances, while some compounds, alloys, and solutions are also considered pure if they have defined proportions and constant compositions.

Examples of pure chemical substances include:

  • Gold
  • Copper
  • Oxygen
  • Chlorine
  • Diamond, composes of carbon atoms
  • Pure water – Composed of hydrogen and oxygen
  • Salt (NaCl) – Composition includes sodium and chlorine
  • Carbon dioxide – Composed of carbon and oxygen

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What does chemically pure grade mean?

Pure grade chemicals are the chemicals with maximum purity; they are either free from any kind of impurities or have minimal/traceable quantities of impurities.

Out of the popular chemical grades namely ACS Grade, Analytical Grade, USP Grade, NF Grade, Lab Grade, Purified Grade, and Technical Grade, the ACS (American Chemical Society) grade and the analytical grade are considered the purest chemicals with purity equal to or exceeding 95%. The high purity range makes them the preferred choice for use in food and medicine; they are also used in a wide range of analytical applications and experiments involving biological matters.

What is a pure chemical compound?

A pure chemical compound is a chemical substance that is composed of a particular set of atoms or ions chemically bond to each other in a definite proportion. Such compounds are formed by combining two or more elements by a chemical reaction. The compounds primarily consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms are called organic compounds, whereas the other compounds are called the inorganic compounds; and the compounds containing bonds between carbon and metal belong to the popular class of compounds called the organometallic compounds.

Compounds and pure compounds are often confused to be the same. However, they differ from each other; the bond contains more than one type of material are referred to as chemical compounds, but a pure compound is formed when the constituents are permanently held together by a chemical bond forming one substance. Such pure compounds have constant and definite physical and chemical properties.

Pure chemical compounds are held together by chemical bonds in a specific pattern, exhibiting a unique structure. The different types of bonds involved in the formation of pure chemical compounds include ionic bond, covalent bond, and metallic bond. Ionic bonds are found in salts, covalent in molecular compounds, whereas, metallic bonds are found in metals.

Differences between pure and impure substances?

Unlike pure substances, an impure substance, also known as a mixture, consists of different kinds of elements combined together. The components of an impure substance are held together physically, and not chemically. The pure and impure substances can be easily differentiated based on the composition. For example, if we consider table salt, it is a pure substance. The constituents, sodium, and chlorine, remain the same in uniform proposition throughout. They look the same, taste the same, and the components present are the same throughout. Whereas cooking oil is an example of an impure substance that is made up of several components such as vitamins, fats, amino acids, etc., all of them having a completely different chemical property yet are held together physically. Some other examples of impure chemicals are atmospheric air, oil-water mixture, ghee, etc.

The pure and impure substances show a difference due to the presence of contaminants in them. In addition to the amount of contaminants present in the substance, they are be differentiated on various grounds, some of them include:

They are homogeneous, i.e., composed of only one type of atoms or molecules.They are either homogeneous or heterogeneous, i.e., composed of one type or different kinds of atoms or molecules.  
It has a definite composition.It is two or more components mixed in any composition.
Their composition is uniform.Their composition is not uniform.
They are classified as either elements or compounds.They are classified as mixtures.
They have definite and constant physical and chemical properties.Their physical and chemical properties vary.
The separation of the respective constituent of a pure substance is not possible.The respective constituents of an impure substance can be separated by various methods such as evaporation, magnetic separation, etc.

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