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Chem Lab - Separation of Sand and Salt Mixtures

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Krishna Nanduri

Period 5

Mr. Lisk

5 October, 2015

Lab Activity #1

Separation of Sand and Salt Mixtures


Every chemical has a set of defined physical properties, and when combined they present a unique fingerprint for that chemical.  When chemicals are present in a mixture, these unique physical properties can be utilized to separate the chemicals into their pure states.  This experiment will give experience in separating the components in a three-compound mixture; distilled water, sodium chloride (table salt), and silicon dioxide (sand).  


Basic Information:

 Because there are 3 components in our mixture, we will need several techniques to separate them. These techniques include: Sublimation (phase change from solid state to gas state), Decanting (a way of separating a solid from a liquid), Extraction (Extraction is a way to separate two components with different solubility’s, that is, extract one chemical from another),   Evaporation/Boiling:  (changing phases from liquid to gas), and Taring: (We tare equipment on a balance to find its mass.  If I want to know how much a sample is in a piece of glassware, I must know the mass of the glassware first.  For example, I can measure a beaker’s mass, then add a sample to it, then re-measure the mass.  Subtracting the mass of the beaker from the mass of the (beaker + sample) provides the mass of the sample).


  1. Get the sand and salt mixture in Beaker #1 and measure and record the mass of Beaker #1 with the sand and salt still in it.
  2. If your group has an Erlenmeyer flask, grab a funnel and 1 piece of filter paper; if your group has a Beaker #2, grab a ring stand, a funnel, and 1 piece of filter paper.
  3. Measure and record the mass of the filter paper.
  4. Measure and record the mass of Beaker #2 or the Erlenmeyer flask.
  5. Fill the graduated cylinder with about 40.00 mL of Distilled Water.
  6. Pour this water into the sand and salt mixture in Beaker #1. Use the stir rod to stir and help dissolve all the salt. If your mixture seems to not have enough water, add a bit more, but do not add too much as you will add more during the filtration.
  7. While stirring the mixture, make sure that the other people in the group are getting the funnel and the filter paper ready. (filter paper should be folded and be placed inside the funnel).
  8. Set up the funnel if not done so. Put the filter paper inside the funnel so that it will drain into Beaker #2 or the Erlenmeyer flask. Remember that if you are using the Beaker you need to place the funnel in the ring stand; if using the flask then just put the bottom of the funnel inside and let it rest on the flask’s top.
  9. Before filtering have someone in the group squirt a little water on the filter paper inside the funnel so that it can be “primed.”
  10. Slowly pour the water through the filtration system and try not to pour to fast.
  11. When no more water can be poured, you can use the stirring rod to scrape out big clumps of wet sand into the funnel/filter paper.
  12. Use the Distilled Water squirt bottle to rinse out Beaker #1 and pour into the funnel to get any of the leftover salt or sand that may have stayed behind.
  13. When all the water has filtered through, squirt a little bit more distilled water all around the filter paper and on the sand.
  14. When the funnel has stopped dripping water into Beaker #2 or the Erlenmeyer flask remove the funnel and then carefully take out the filter paper with the sand on it and place it on a watch glass to dry. Have a way to label which filter paper is the said groups.
  15. Take Beaker #1 and dry it and get its mass and record this on the data table. Now that you have all the information needed to calculate how much mass the original sand and salt mixture was, do this.
  16. Take Beaker #2 which should contain your salt water and place it on a hot plate and begin heating it. Remember not to heat it too high.
  17. Heat it until the salt starts to appear. Use tongs to take the flask or beaker off for a little and then on again to remove any excess water. Make sure that you are not overheating your salt.
  18. When all or most of the water is gone, take it off the hot plate and let it cool on the lab table.
  19. Begin cleaning all the equipment used during the experiment and make sure that you record all the data on the data table chart.


                                                           TABLE 1

Mass of Sand and Salt Mixture

23.21 g

Mass of Isolated Salt

6.86 g

Mass of Isolated Sand

14.96 g

Combined Mass of Isolated Salt and Sand

21.82 g

Percent Mass of Original Components Maintained After Isolation


All significant data to the lab is provided in Data Table 1. To determine the mass of the original sand and salt mixture, we had to subtract out the mass of the beaker it was in:

Mass of Beaker 1 with Mixture: 74.32 g



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