Isolating the Components of a Three Component Mixture

5 May 2016

The purpose of this experiment was to separate the component of three mixtures sand, sodium chloride and calcium carbonate then calculate the percentage by mass of each component recovered from the mixture.

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The other purpose of this experiment was to show us the students the concepts associated with physical and chemical properties of substances. Me and my lab partner, obtained a mixture of a un known proportion from the instructor and then flow the guide line in our lab manual to separate the mixture by applying the separation method motioned in our lab manual pages 33-40 .

In this experiment, the separation methods were decantation, filtration and evaporation and extraction and each is explained below: Decantation, this is the separation of liquid from a solid by careful pouring the supernatant liquid from the holding vessel without disturbing the solid at the bottom of the container. Filtration, Filtration is a mechanical or physical process to separate solid particulates from fluids.

The solid remaining behind on the filter paper is known as the residue and the liquid that passes through the paper is called the filtrate. Evaporation, the process by which molecules undergo the a spontaneous transition from the liquid phase to the gas phase.

Evaporation is the opposite of condensation. The remaining residue in the evaporation cup is the substance that had been dissolved in the solvent. In this experiment we also used a chemical method known as extraction.

This process of separation is used when only one component of the mixture is soluble in a specific solvent. In our case we had to use hydrochloric acid (HCl).Extractions, is a way to separate a desired substance when it is mixed with others.

The mixture is brought into contact with a solvent in which the substance of interest is soluble, but the other substances present are insoluble. And below is a table of elements and separation method.


Elements and compounds are pure substances. The composition of a pure substance is constant, and thus pure substances have characteristic physical properties that do not change and this is why we are able to separate each element in this lab experiment.

Examples of physical properties that can be used to describe pure substances include solubility, conductivity, magnetism, density, boiling point, and melting point. Since we obtain an unknown proportion of a mixture, it’s important to mention that a mixture is a result of a combination of two or more pure substances that do not react chemically.

The physical properties of a mixture depend on its composition because the amounts of each substance making up a mixture can vary. By taking advantage of the unique physical properties of individual components within a mixture, it should be possible to separate a mixture into its components. Mixtures have the following fundamental properties: 1>each component of a mixture retains its chemical identity and hence its own properties.

2> Composition of a mixture may vary while that of its components is fixed. 3> Mixtures can be separated into these components by using physical methods like, decantation, distillation, evaporation, crystallization, sublimation, and filtration. In this lab, a mixture of three solids was separated to their individual components through decantation, filtration and evaporation and extraction.

By adding up the weights of the various components, we recovered 2.53 grams of starting material which was 3 grams. You can find more data about this experiment on page 44and 45 of the attached data sheet. Below is a table of each element and mass in grams from our experiment. Element

In the experiment we collected data though observed and analyzed it then we calculated the percentage of each of the three mixtures as shown on the attached sheet from page (43 to 45)

. We also calculated the percentage error from our recovery of the mixture components using the percent error equation .we had 16 %error as shown on the data sheet on page 45 calculation number 9. (Mass of sample analyzed in glams – total mass of recovered NaCl, SiO2, and CaCO3) *100% Mass of sample analyzed in glams.

The overall purpose of the separation and extraction lab experiment was to isolate the mixture to three pure substances of sand, sodium chloride and calcium carbonate.

Through observation and analyzing of data from this experiment, I think we did achieve the intended goals of this experiment. We separated the mixture to its three pure substances by Filtration, Evaporation, Extraction and decantation. In conclusion I can only say that the four methods of separation decantation, filtration and evaporation plus the extraction delivered the experiment to the expected standards.

We were able to recover almost all of the three mixtures solids calcium carbonate sodium chloride and sand by a percentage of 84% with an error of 16%. And yes, a mixture of NH4Cl, NaCl, and NH4Cl can be separated into different substances by physical means supports the stated purpose of this experiment and proves that mixtures can be separated into their components by physical means.

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