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Example of Methods of Separating Mixture

An element is composed of only one kind of atom which cannot be broken down into a simpler type of matter by any physical or chemical method. The combination of two or more atoms of same or different types results the formation of molecule. In a molecule, the atoms are bonded through chemical bonds such as ionic bond or covalent bond. Compounds are composed of atoms of two or more different elements which are bonded together. They can be decomposed into a simpler type of matter with the help of some chemical methods. Compounds show different chemical and physical properties compare to their component elements.

Mixtures are composed of two or more different elements or compounds which are physically intermingled with each other. The components of mixture can be separated into its components by physical methods. The components of mixtures retain their properties in it. On the basis of composition, mixtures can be classified in two types; heterogeneous and homogenous. In a homogenous mixture, components are uniformly combined and distributed evenly throughout the mixture.

On the contrary, in the heterogeneous mixtures the components are not equal throughout and can be easily separated into individual components. For separating the components a mixture, there are several methods which mainly depend on the type of mixture and its ingredients. 

Let’s discuss few methods of separation of components of mixtures Crystallization is one of the most common method for the separation of components of mixture. We can separate many solids from the saturated solutions by leaving them to form crystals. In the saturated solution, the solvent evaporates at high temperature and left behind the crystals of solute. Filtration is another method for separation of mixtures.

In this method, the mixture is poured over an appropriately-sized filter so that the liquid drains into a container underneath and residue remains on the filter paper. On the basis of boiling point of components, mixtures can purify with the use of distillation technique. This method can be used in such case when the difference in the boiling point of both components is too large.  In distillation, the liquid mixture is heated till vaporization. It left the heavier material suspended in the liquid condensed at the bottom of the container and vapour can be removed through a condenser tube. This vapour can be easily condensed into liquid in another container. In the fractional distillation, different liquids boil at different temperatures.

When the mixture is heated, it boils off and condenses at different times.  The apparatus of this process contains a fractionating column in which only the liquid boils at its boiling point and can pass into the condenser. For example this technique can be used to separate the mixture of ethanol and water.

One of the best methods of separation is chromatography which is mainly used to separate different coloured dyes.  There are different types of chromatographic methods such as paper chromatography, thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography and HPLC.  In the paper chromatography, the solution of dyes travels up on the chromatography paper at different distances due to different absorbance power. This technique is used to separate only a small amount of mixture samples. Evaporation method is used to separate a soluble solid from a liquid.  Separating funnel is used to separate two immiscible liquids such as oil and water.