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What are the six ways of separating mixtures?

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Quick Answer

There are six ways to separate mixtures including sedimentation, decantation, filtration, evaporation, crystallization and distillation. Mixtures are made up of both solids and liquids.

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Mixtures that contain only solids must be separated through sublimation, extraction, magnetic separation or chromatography. Mixtures that contain only liquids must be separated through fractional distillation or gravity separation.

Sedimentation is the process of separating the insoluble solid from the liquid by allowing the solid to settle at the bottom of the container. Decantation is similar to sedimentation, but it also involves pouring off the liquid in order to leave the solid behind. Filtration is used to separate by pouring the liquid and solid through a funnel into a container where the solid is retained by the filter.

Evaporation is a method that involves evaporating the solvent in the mixture. An example of this is a salt and water mixture where the water can be evaporated in order to leave the salt behind. Another example of this would be copper sulphate, potash alum, sugar and potassium nitrate. Crystallization is an evaporating technique that works to form crystals of the solute and then dissolve those crystals out of the solution. Distillation is a process of heating a solution that contains soluble solids to form vapors of the liquids and then cooling the vapors once again to get the liquid back, but without the solid.

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