Sorting Out Elements

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Write Up on 1-1 Procedure: Before our lab group attempted to separate the iron, sand, salt, and poppy seed from one another we ran tests on all four of them. We tested if each one floated (in water), dissolved (in water), and if they were magnetic. We found that poppy seed floated in water, salt dissolved in water, sand didn't float (and therefore it sunk in water), and iron sunk in water and was magnetic. With this information now gathered we began our attempt to separate all four from each other. The first thing we did was to use a magnet to separate the iron from the others, and dragged it into the foil. Next we filled a beaker with distilled water, and poured the rest of the contents into the beaker. Like we expected, the salt dissolved into the water, but to our surprise some of the poppy seed didn't float.

So we had to stir the water lightly so only the sunken poppy seed was spinning around and poured the water and some of the poppy seed into another beaker (just like the settling decanting method except we had to stir the water first so that the poppy seed floated). We did the same thing a second time to get most of the remaining poppy seed. Then we used the gravity filtration method, and poured the beaker filled with poppy seed and salt water. We found that the poppy seed was stuck in the filter, but the salt water passed through into another beaker we had put underneath the funnel. While Jack and I were doing this, Kelly used a stick and pulled out the remaining poppy seeds from the sand. After the gravity filtration was complete, we now had all of them separate and spent the rest of the time checking each sample to make sure that there weren't any samples in the wrong place.

Data Table: Analysis: 1. I think that our group did pretty well at separating the four components, sand, iron, salt, and poppy seeds. We gave ourselves a 2 in separating sand because Mrs. Fujinaka found a very tiny clump of iron (I thought it was black sand, nah jus joking). In separating iron, we gave ourselves a 1 because there was nothing else but iron on top of the tin foil. In the salt catergory, we gave ourselves a 1 because there wasn't anything but salt and water in the beaker, but changed it to a 2 because I accidently threw out some of the salt water from filtration. Lastly we got a 1 for poppy seeds because there was nothing but poppy seed on top of the paper towel we had them on.

Conclusion: 1. We decided that taking out the iron would be the easiest since all you had to use was the magnet to pull the pieces of iron out of the mixture. Next we decided that the second easiest thing would be to put all the contents into a beaker filled with water because we thought that all the poppy seeds would float to the top and all we'd have to do was scoop them out with a spoon. Things didn't go as planned, and we had to use the settling decanting method (which we kind of altered). After this we already had the sand and iron separated, so we figured that the easiest way to separate the poppy seed and salt was to use gravity filtration. Basically we decided on order of steps by thinking of which steps would b the easiest to do. I think that maybe you could do the whole thing anyway you wanted because the magnet would always get the iron out, the settling decanting method would always separate the poppy seed, and gravity filtration would always separate the salt from anything else.

2. I think our group did the lab very well, and I can't really think of anything do differently because separating the mixture of iron, sand, salt, and poppy seed was kind of easy.

3. If we had sift (the thing that has holes and you shake to separate things) our job would be easier because we could use one size sift to hold the poppy seed while everything else fell through, then a smaller size hole sift to get the Hawaiian salt, then one smaller sift to catch the sand, and then we could put the iron onto the tin foil.

4. Iron is magnetic, so it enabled us to use a magnet to pull the iron out of the mixture. Poppy seed floats in water, so it enabled us to use the settling decanting method to separate it. Sand sinks in water so when we used the settling decanting method, it stayed on the bottom of the beaker. Lastly salt is soluble (it dissolved in water) so