In this science experiment we will make a Soluble Separation Solution. In this experiment you will learn about soluble and
insoluble chemicals, and use the difference in solubility of salt and pepper to separate the components of a mixture.
Chemistry is the study of matter and how matter behaves and interacts with other kinds of matter. The way that matter
behaves is called a "property" of matter. Everything around us is made of matter, and you can explore the properties of
matter using some common chemicals around your home.
One important property of matter is called "solubility." We think about solubility when we dissolve something in water. If a
chemical is soluble in water, then when you add it to water it will dissolve, or disappear. If it is not soluble, then it will not
dissolve and you will still see it floating around in the water.
When you add a soluble chemical to dissolve in water you are making a "solution," and solutions are very important for
chemistry. We call the chemical you are adding the "solute" and the liquid that it dissolves in the "solvent." Even though after
a solute dissolves in a solvent it becomes invisible, it is still there. If you were to evaporate all of the liquid away from the
solution, you would be left with your dry chemical again. In fact, this is how salt is processed in giant salt flats where
seawater is slowly evaporated, leaving behind huge amounts of sea salt.
All of the different kinds of matter can be sorted into categories based upon whether they are soluble or not in different
solvents. Because of this, the properties and solubility of different chemicals can be used to separate mixtures of
chemicals. A chemical mixture is a blend of two or more different kinds of chemicals where the individual chemicals do not
react with each other, but remain separate. You can see an example of this when you look closely at a dry mixture of salt
In this experiment, you will use the different properties of the chemicals in salt and pepper to separate a mixture. By doing
this, you will learn about the solubility of soluble and insoluble chemicals.
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
To do this type of experiment you should know what the following terms mean. Have an adult help you search the internet,
or take you to your local library to find out more!
Materials and Equipment
2 small glass jars with lids
Process Soluble Separation Solution Experiment
1) Before you begin, you will want to examine your salt and pepper closely and make some initial observations. Place some
salt and pepper on a napkin and using your magnifying glass, make some observations and draw what you see. What do
you notice? Record your observations in a data table like the one shown below:
2) In your glass jar, add 1/4 cup of salt, and 1/4 cup of coarsely ground pepper.
3) Put the lid on your jar and shake until the salt and pepper are completely mixed together.
4)Using your magnifying lens, look closely at the mixture. What do you notice? Can you still see the individual grains of salt
and pepper? Record your observations in your data table.
5) Put the teakettle on the stove, and heat up some boiling water.
6) Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into your jar and stir with a spoon. Be careful and get help from a parent or adult, the glass
will get very hot!
7)Using your magnifying lens, look closely at your solution. What do you notice? Can you still see the individual grains of
salt and pepper? Record your observations in your data table.
8)Place the coffee filter in the funnel and place the funnel in the top of your second glass jar to make your separation
Slowly pour the solution over your filter, being careful not to pour too much at once. As the solution seeps through the filter,
let it collect in your jar.
Now look at the coffee filter, what do you see? Carefully scrape off any particles with a spoon and place them into the first
Place both glass jars onto a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven at 325 degrees until all of the water has evaporated from
both of the jars. You will need an adults help with this.
Remove the jars and allow them to cool to room temperature before handling. They will be very hot!
After the jars are cool, use your magnifying lens to make observations of the two jars. What do you notice? Can you still see
the individual grains of salt and pepper? Are they mixed together or separated? Record your observations in your data table.
Now carefully use a measuring cup to measure the amount of salt and pepper you ended up with. Do these amounts
match the amounts you started with? Why do you think this happened?
Now get your friends and try the Soluble Separation Solution Experiment.
Credits Sara Agee, Ph.D., Science Buddies
|Observations before mixing
|Amount before mixing
|Observations of mixture
|Total amount of mixture
|Observations after adding
separation & drying
separation & drying
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