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Chemistry

In chemistry, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties.[1] It cannot be separated into components by physical separation methods, i.e. without breaking chemical bonds. It can be solid, liquid, gas, or plasma.

Chemical substances are often called 'pure' to set them apart from mixtures. A common example of a chemical substance is pure water; it has the same properties and the same ratio of hydrogen to oxygen whether it is isolated from a river or made in a laboratory. Other chemical substances commonly encountered in pure form are diamond (carbon), gold, table salt (sodium chloride) and refined sugar (sucrose). However, simple or seemingly pure substances found in nature can in fact be mixtures of chemical substances. For example, tap water may contain small amounts of dissolved sodium chloride and compounds containing iron, calcium and many other chemical substances.

Chemical substances exist as solids, liquids, gases, or plasma and may change between these phases of matter with changes in temperature or pressure. Chemical reactions convert one chemical substance into another. Forms of energy, such as light and heat, are not considered to be matter, and thus they are not "substances" in this regard.

Chemical substances (also called pure substances) may well be defined as "any material with a definite chemical composition" in an introductory general chemistry textbook. According to this definition a chemical substance can either be a pure chemical element or a pure chemical compound. But, there are exceptions to this definition; a pure substance can also be defined as a form of matter that has both definite composition and distinct properties.

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