A mixture can be separated using the the differences in physical or chemical properties of the individual components. As an example, dumping spaghetti and water in a colander separates the two components because the liquid water can run through the colander but the solid spaghetti cannot (assuming that it is not grossly overcooked as prepared in some university dining halls). Some water will stick to the spaghetti and some spaghetti may go down the drain because the colander is not 100% efficient. An analagous example is the filtering of a solid precipitate to separate it from a solution. These separations are based on the states of matter of the two components, other physical properties that are useful for separations are density and size. Some useful chemical properties by which compounds can be separated are solubility, boiling point, and vapor pressure.
Copyright © 1996 by Brian M. Tissue