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Separation Methods: Density Differences

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Separation Methods

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Lesson Focus

Separation Methods: Density Differences

Chemistry

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You will use laboratory equipment to physically separate heterogeneous mixtures of liquids, or solids and liquids.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Describe the use of a separation funnel as a method of separating liquids of different densities.
  • Describe the use of filtration as a method of separating solids from liquids.
  • Describe how flotation of solids can be used to separate heterogeneous mixtures.
  • Use the appropriate sequence of separation methods to separate a complex heterogeneous mixture.
  • Explain that immiscible liquids separate out into layers, with the least dense on top.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Density is a physical property of matter that can be calculated as mass per unit volume of a material or substance. Density differences are used in the Activity Object as a method to physically separate solids from liquids, or liquids from liquids with different densities. Density can also be used to help identify a substance in terms of its physical properties, if other factors are known. For example, if a layer of liquid floats on another layer, the top layer is less dense. It is often useful to define density in comparative terms, as Archimedes did. Archimedes' principle is based on the density of an object, as any object wholly or partly immersed in fluid will be buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The density of objects can be compared in water with the less dense objects floating higher up, the more dense objects floating more fully submerged, and the objects with a density greater than 1 g/mL sinking. How liquids and solids behave in liquids is an important consideration in the separation methods used in the Activity Object.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Learners should be familiar with density and mixtures.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary density difference, filter funnel, filtering