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Unformatted text preview: Examples are water, table salt, and iron. Just as each individual person has a set of
characteristics, such as fingerprints and color of eyes and hair, each pure substance has characteristic properties.
There are two types of pure substance: elements and compounds. An element is a pure substance that cannot be
decomposed into simpler substances by ordinary chemical reactions. Elements are the building blocks of which
all compounds are composed. Nitrogen, oxygen, and iron are examples of elements. A number of common
elements and their symbols are listed in the textbook in Table 1.1.
Compounds are pure substances that are composed of two or more elements combined in definite
proportions. Compounds can be broken down into the elements of which they are composed by chemical means.
Water and table salt, mentioned earlier, are compounds. The action of an electric current, called electrolysis, is
one method that can be used to decompose both water and molten table salt into their constituent elements....
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- Spring '08