Problem: Musical instruments like trumpets and trombones are made from an alloy called brass. Brass is composed of copper and zinc atoms and appears homogeneous under an optical microscope. The approximate composition of most brass objects is a 2:1 ratio of copper to zinc atoms, but the exact ratio varies somewhat from one piece of brass to another.Would you classify brass as an element, a compound, a homogeneous mixture, or a heterogeneous mixture?

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to identify if brass is an element, a compound, a homogeneous mixture or a heterogenous mixture.


Recall that:

  • an element is a pure substance that is the simplest form
  • compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules composed of atoms from more than one element held together by chemical bonds.
  • mixtures are combinations of two or more pure substances (elements or compounds)

Mixtures are not chemically combined.


Mixtures can either be:

• Homogenous: the components are evenly distributed and indistinguishable from each other

• Heterogenous: the components are not evenly distributed and distinguishable from each other


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Problem Details

Musical instruments like trumpets and trombones are made from an alloy called brass. Brass is composed of copper and zinc atoms and appears homogeneous under an optical microscope. The approximate composition of most brass objects is a 2:1 ratio of copper to zinc atoms, but the exact ratio varies somewhat from one piece of brass to another.

Would you classify brass as an element, a compound, a homogeneous mixture, or a heterogeneous mixture?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Mixtures concept. You can view video lessons to learn Mixtures. Or if you need more Mixtures practice, you can also practice Mixtures practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Singh's class at HCC.