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Compounds are single chemical entities. Examples include sodium chloride (NaCl) and glucose. These materials cannot be separated into components using analytical techniques. Compounds are pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure. They are comprised of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together in a defined spatial arrangement by chemical bonds. This makes compounds fundamentally different from compositions.
Compositions are mixtures of compounds rather than one single compound. Formulations are always complex compositions, and raw materials are commonly complex compositions. Formulations made from raw materials that are compositions themselves are complex and can be difficult to analyze and duplicate.
Raw materials can be mixtures for a variety of reasons, including the following.
The ability to evaluate raw materials and pick one to replace another in a formulation requires an understanding of all these issues, making substitution difficult under many conditions. Certainly, one cannot rely upon INCI names for anything other than their intended use, namely providing label names.