How to separate a mixture of sand salt and water using a bunsen burner

Written by chris heinrich
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How to separate a mixture of sand salt and water using a bunsen burner
By separating a mixture of sand and salt, you demonstrate the chemical properties of solubility and insolubility in water. (Verrerie de laboratoire. image by Photon BLEU from

Though similar in appearance and size, salt and sand have vastly different chemical properties. Sand is comprised of a vast number of different mineral fragments including quartz and feldspar, according to World of Earth Science, while salt is an ionic compound formed through the interaction of an acid and base, according to The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Another of their differing properties, their respective solubility and insolubility in water, can be demonstrated through a simple experiment.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Eye protection
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • 1.5 gram table salt
  • 6 gram sand
  • 50 millilitre warm water
  • 250 millilitre glass beaker
  • Glass stirring rod
  • Filter paper
  • Filter funnel
  • 250 millilitre glass conical flask
  • Evaporating basin
  • Bunsen burner
  • Tripod
  • Gauze

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  1. 1

    Combine all of the sand, salt and water in the 250 millilitre glass beaker, and stir for several minutes with the glass stirring rod until the salt is completely dissolved into the water. This will be easier if the water is warm.

  2. 2

    Insert the filter funnel into the mouth of the 250 millilitre conical flask and lay the filter paper across the filter funnel.

  3. 3

    Pour the sand, salt, water mixture through the filter paper and filter funnel. The sand should remain in the filter paper while the salt water collects in the bottom of the flask.

  4. 4

    Stand the tripod above the Bunsen burner, and lay the gauze atop the tripod.

  5. 5

    Pour the salt water collected in the flask into the evaporating basin.

  6. 6

    Put the evaporating basin atop the tripod and ignite the Bunsen burner. Keep careful watch over the mixture, and immediately turn the Bunsen burner off when the salt water begins to "spit." The experiment is complete as the salt has been reclaimed from the water.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear eye protection and gloves during this experiment for safety. Eye protection keeps you safe when the evaporating salt water begins to "spit," and heat-resistant gloves protect you if you need to grab the evaporating dish or tripod during the experiment.

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