What Are Types of Separation Techniques?

There are several types of separation techniques, including hand separation, filtration, distillation, chromatography and centrifugation. Other methods include absorption, crystallization, decantation, evaporation and extraction. The method of separating components of a mixture depends on the type of mixture and difference in the chemical properties of the compositions of a mixture.

Most mixtures can be separated, and the type of separation technique used depends on the nature of the mixture. Paper chromatography is used in the food industry to identify chemicals (coloring agents) in foods or inks. An insoluble solid is separated from a liquid using the filtration method.

Evaporation, on the other hand, separates a solution (a soluble solid and solvent). A separating funnel separates two immiscible liquids, such as water and kerosene. Centrifugation involves the separation of tiny insoluble components from a liquid where normal filtration is not effective. Other types of separation techniques include sublimation, precipitation and magnetic separation.

Separation techniques are methods of achieving any mass transfer phenomenon that changes a mixture into two or more independent products or constituents. Separation methods are determined by the difference in chemical or physical properties, including shape, size, density, mass or chemical affinity between the mixture components.

There are two types of mixtures: homogenous and heterogeneous. While homogenous mixtures are uniform in composition, heterogeneous mixtures are not. A mixture of water and oil is an example of a heterogeneous mixture. Air, on the other hand, is a homogenous mixture.