How Do You Separate Sand, Salt and Iron Filings?

Separate sand, salt and iron filings with a magnet, warm water and a filter. Use the magnet to remove the iron filings, dissolve the salt in warm water and filter out the sand.

  1. Gather your materials

    Gather the sand, salt and iron filing mixture; a magnet; a paper towel; a cup of warm water; an empty cup; and a piece of filter paper.

  2. Use the magnet to remove the iron

    Spread the sand, salt and iron mixture on a flat surface. Wrap the magnet in the paper towel. Use the magnet to remove the iron by pulling it across the surface of the mixture. The filings stick to the magnet while the sand and salt are left behind. Remove the paper towel from the magnet to collect the filings.

  3. Use warm water to dissolve the salt

    Put the remaining salt and sand mixture into the glass of warm water, and stir until all the salt has dissolved.

  4. Remove the sand from the salt water

    Hold the filter paper over the empty cup. Pour the saltwater and sand mixture through the filter and into the empty cup. The sand is caught in the filter, while the salt remains in solution in the warm water.