Chemical substance also known as a pure substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. It cannot be separated into components by physical separation methods, i.e., without breaking chemical bonds. Chemical substances can be chemical elements, chemical compounds, ions or alloys. 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, in practice, no substance is entirely pure, and chemical purity is specified according to the intended use of the chemical.
In geology, substances of uniform composition are called minerals, while physical mixtures (aggregates) of several minerals (different substances) are defined as rocks. Many minerals, however, mutually dissolve into solid solutions, such that a single rock is a uniform substance despite being a mixture in stoichiometric terms. Feldspars are a common example: anorthoclase is an alkali aluminium silicate, where the alkali metal is interchangeably either sodium or potassium. In law, "chemical substances" may include both pure substances and mixtures with a defined composition or manufacturing process. For example, the EU regulation REACH defines "monoconstituent substances", "multiconstituent substances" and "substances of unknown or variable composition". The latter two consist of multiple chemical substances; however, their identity can be established either by direct chemical analysis or reference to a single manufacturing process. For example, charcoal is an extremely complex, partially polymeric mixture that can be defined by its manufacturing process. Therefore, although the exact chemical identity is unknown, identification can be made to a sufficient accuracy. The CAS index also includes mixtures.