Et cetera: Separating funnel

by on December 9, 2013
Seriously, it's this simple.

Seriously, it’s this simple.

Separating solids from liquids is as simple as using a sieve. Sometimes a complicated version of a sieve, designed to be faster and finer, but basically still a sieve. Sieves are not noted for their ability to separate liquids, but luckily there is an extremely simple bit of kit to use instead.

It’s called a separating funnel, and it is nothing more complicated than a big funnel-shaped flask with a tap at the bottom.

You make sure the tap is closed, pour your mixture (of immiscible liquids – this works with oil-and-water situations, not alcohol-and-water ones) in, and put the stopper in. Then you give it one good shake, to make sure all your product is dissolved in the right bit, let it stand upright for a couple of minutes to separate out properly, take the stopper out (which is the bit I always forget) and open the tap. When all of the bottom layer has run out of the bottom, close the tap again.

Ta-da! You now have two liquids in different containers!

I hope you know which one your product is in…

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