Designing a Separation Method:  An Example for Performance Task #1  

The Ajax Manufacturing Company makes plastic spheres of three different densities.  One of the managers decided to collect the three products into one large container.  The products need to be separated.  Here is what you have to work with.

Plastic Spheres



1.1 g/mL


0.9 g/mL


0.7 g/mL

The plastics are insoluble in water and alcohol and the three plastics all have the same particle size or diameter.  You have water (D = 1.0 g/mL) and alcohol (D = 0.8 g/mL) available.   

Describe a separation process to isolate the three different plastic spheres in dry condition.  

You need to write a full description of the steps required to achieve this separation.  Assume you would be giving this to someone else to follow.  They need to know everything to do!

To give you an idea of the detail required, here is a PowerPoint Show going through the total steps required for this separation.  Some questions to get you to think about what you are doing are included also.  Chick here for the slideshow. 


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Scott A. Sinex    Barbara A. Gage    Prince George's Community College    8/2003