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Question Video: Recalling a Method for Separating a Suspended Solid from a Liquid Chemistry • 10th Grade

Which of the following methods is the most appropriate for separating a suspended solid from a liquid? [A] Filtration [B] Crystallization [C] Evaporation [D] Distillation [E] Centrifugation

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Video Transcript

Which of the following methods is the most appropriate for separating a suspended solid from a liquid? (A) Filtration, (B) crystallization, (C) evaporation, (D) distillation, or (E) centrifugation.

A good example of a solid suspended in a liquid is sand suspended in water. The sand is not dissolved in the water. As long as the mixture is stirred, the sand will be dispersed throughout the water. If we stop stirring the mixture, the sand particles are large enough that they will settle to the bottom of the container. To answer this question, we need to determine which of the methods provided is the most appropriate for separating this type of mixture. Let’s examine each of the separation techniques.

Filtration is a separation technique ideal for separating mixtures that contain an insoluble solid and a liquid. In this separation technique, the mixture is poured through a filter. Large solid particles will be trapped by the filter paper, while liquids and dissolved ions will pass through into the flask. As suspended solids are insoluble solids, it seems as though answer choice (A) is the correct answer. But just to be sure, let’s take a look at the other answer choices.

Crystallization is a separation technique primarily used to separate a soluble solid from a liquid. In this technique, the mixture is gently heated until some of the liquid evaporates and small crystals begin to form on the surface of the liquid or the edges of the evaporating dish. The solution is then allowed to cool and the resulting crystals are collected to separate the soluble solid from the liquid. As suspended solids are not soluble in a liquid, crystallization cannot be the answer to this question.

Evaporation is very similar to crystallization and is used to separate a solid from a liquid. During evaporation, the mixture is heated until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving behind the solid. While this method could be used to separate a suspended solid from a liquid, it is more time-consuming than filtration. Because of this, evaporation is typically used to separate a soluble solid from a liquid rather than an insoluble solid. So while evaporation could be used to separate a suspended solid from a liquid, it is not the most appropriate method.

Distillation is a separation technique used to separate two miscible liquids that have different boiling points. As this method is used to separate two liquids and not a solid and a liquid, distillation cannot be the answer to this question.

Centrifugation is a separation technique used to separate solid particles from a liquid. The mixture is spun at a high speed inside of a centrifuge. The spinning forces the more dense particles to the bottom of the container, while centrifugation could be used to separate a suspended solid from a liquid, it works best when the volume of the mixture is small, the solid particles are very fine, and the solid easily clumps together when spun. So centrifugation is not necessarily the most appropriate method for separating a suspended solid from a liquid.

Therefore, the method that is the most appropriate for separating a suspended solid from a liquid is filtration, answer choice (A).

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