How to Separate a Mixture of Sand & Salt

By separating a mixture of sand and salt, you demonstrate the chemical properties of solubility and insolubility in water.
••• Verrerie de laboratoire. image by Photon BLEU from

The separation of mixtures is a fundamental science experiment that is performed in many classrooms around the world to teach students the basics of procedures like filtration, heating, and evaporation. When attempting to separate a mixture of sand and salt, you'll need some standard lab equipment like glass containers, filter paper and a bunsen burner.

    Fill a test tube about half-way with the sand-salt mixture.

    Pour water into the test tube. Use enough water to completely submerge the sand-salt mixture.

    Stir or shake the mixture for a few minutes so that the salt dissolves in the water. The sand is insoluble, so it will remain visible.

    Curl a piece of filter paper into a cone shape and place it in a filter funnel.

    Pour the mixture through the filter funnel into a crucible or evaporating basin. The filter paper will hold back the sand and only allow the salt solution to pass through it.

    Place the crucible containing the salt solution on a tripod, and heat the bottom of it with a bunsen burner. After a while, the water will evaporate, leaving only the salt crystals behind.

    Place the wet filter paper with the sand under a heat lamp or leave it in the sun to dry it out.

    Scrape the salt crystals out of the crucible. You should now be left with a pile of sand and a pile of salt, having successfully separated the two from the mixture.

    Things You'll Need

    • Test tube
    • Water
    • Filter paper
    • Filter funnel
    • Crucible or evaporating basin
    • Tripod
    • Bunsen burner
    • Heat lamp or sunlight


    • As a general rule, you should always wear protective eyewear when heating materials with a bunsen burner.

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