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1.5B: Decanting

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    When there is a need to separate a solid-liquid mixture, on occasion it is possible to pour off the liquid while leaving the solid behind. This process is called decanting, and is the simplest separation method. Decanting is often used to remove hydrated sodium sulfate (\(\ce{Na2SO4}\)) from an organic solution. The sodium sulfate often clings to the glassware (Figure 1.67a), enabling the liquid to be poured off (Figure 1.67b). If liquid is to be poured into a small vessel, a funnel could be used or liquid poured down a glass stirring rod to direct the flow (Figure 1.67c). Unfortunately, there are many mixtures that do not decant well.

    Figure 1.67: a) Sodium sulfate sticking to the glassware, b) Decanting a solid-liquid mixture, c) Using a glass stirring rod during decanting.


    • Lisa Nichols (Butte Community College). Organic Chemistry Laboratory Techniques is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Complete text is available online.

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