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Thursday November 4th, 2010
Today we planned our project as seen on our procedure and materials list pages.
We will be writing observations, concerns, and questions here so check back daily!

Friday November 5th, 2010
Today we started separating the substances from our heterogeneous mixture.
Here are some thing that we noticed:
  • The fine metal sieve was too fine, and the sand, salt, and iron could not fall through it and into the 500mL beaker. This made made the experiment a lot more difficult and tedious because we had to hand-pick through the mixture to take out the wood and aluminum.
  • The aluminum was pretty easy to separate from the mixture, but some of the wood shavings would get buried at the bottom of the mixture and were difficult to pick out with our bare hands.
  • When we attempted to use the tweezers to separate the wood shavings from the mixture, we found out that the iron was attracted to the tweezers. This made it very difficult to use the tweezers to pick up the wood shavings from the mixture.
  • Because the iron was attracted to the tweezers, the tweezers were useful for checking the separated substance beakers for traces of iron. We would simply stick the tweezers in those beakers and move them around a bit, and if any iron filings were stuck to the tweezers, we would know that we would have to do a better job of separating the iron from that substance.
  • When we attempted to use the magnets to separate the iron from the mixture, we noticed that the iron brought the wood shavings and some sand on its way to the magnet. The wood shavings and sand became wedged in between the iron filings on the magnet.
  • When we tried to use the spoon to scoop up the last few remaining pieces of aluminum out of the mixture, we observed that the iron was attracted to the spoon as well.
  • All in all, we have observed that our procedure and materials thus far were not thoroughly thought out, and they have presented issues with their efficiency and functionality.

Monday November 8th, 2010
Today we continued to separate the heterogeneous mixture. We completed separating the wood shavings, iron and aluminum.
Here are some things we noticed:
  • Because our procedure has presented some issues and has proved to be inefficient, we had to sacrifice some things in order to complete as much of this project as possible. For example, because it took so long to get every last piece of the wood shavings out of the mixture, we found ourselves very behind schedule and had to leave some of the smaller pieces of the wood shavings in the mixture. We also had to rush and therefore were sloppy with our materials. Because of this, we found sand all over the table, on the green trays, and in the iron, aluminum, and wood shavings beakers. We attempted to recover as much of it as possible, but we were short on time.
  • When we finally added water to the remaining mixture of sand and salt, the water turned a brownish color, and all the sand and salt sank to the bottom of the beaker.
  • As we stirred the mixture with the spoon, a black, silvery coating appeared on top of the water. It had a consistency similar to the foam you would find in a cappucino. We realized that this was iron, meaning that we did not do a good job of completely separating the iron from the mixture. This was surprising considering that we took extra care to run the magnet through the mixture several times to ensure that there was no iron remaining.
  • As we scraped the iron off the magnets, a black residue was left over on our hands. We didn't think anything of that fact until we saw the black, silvery coating on top of the beaker containing the mixture with water added to it. This led us to think that perhaps the iron left a residue on the sand, which then created the black, silvery coating on the water.
  • Our final result for today looked something like this: the black, silvery coating on top of brownish salt water with a layer of sand and perhaps some salt that had not yet dissolved on the bottom.
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Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Today we attempted to finish separating the mixture of mostly sand, saltwater, iron dust, and tiny particles of wood shavings. We only had 15 minutes to finish up the experiment today because it was a study hall.
Here are some things we noticed:
  • Because we left the sand and saltwater together in the beaker overnight, there was some salt that had collected on the inside of the beaker where the water had evaporated.
  • Yesterday the salt water in the beaker had been a brownish color, but by today the sediment had settled and the beaker looked something like this: salt coating the inside of the beaker, then the black, silvery coating just under the salt, then clear salt water, then finally a layer of sand on the bottom of the beaker.
  • The black, silvery coating that we noticed yesterday had collected on the sides of the beaker just underneath the salt, and when we touched this coating we noticed that it had some grains of salt. There was some salt in this coating because the coating was created from salt water and iron dust, and some of the water had evaporated, leaving behind salt.
  • When we tried to pour the mixture of sand, salt, water, and iron dust through the filter paper, it took way too long for the salt water to filter through, Also, when the sand and black, silvery coating was left on the top, we couldn't figure out how to separate those two things. Because of these issues, we stopped using the filter paper.
  • Because of the issues with the filter paper we decided to pour the mixture through the fine metal sieve. We then took the sand from the top of the sieve and put it in its respective collection beaker and took the salt water and black, silvery coating and put that in the salt collection beaker.
  • We decided to put both the salt and the black, silvery coating from the top of the beaker in the salt collection beaker. We put the coating in that beaker because we were more confident about the iron we had separated than the salt, considering that the amount of salt we were able to recover didn't even cover the bottom of the beaker. We didn't want to mess up our iron by adding that mixture of iron dust, salt, and some water which I have been calling " the black, silvery coating."
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Today we weighed all of our materials and separated substances.
Here are some things we noticed:
  • Both of our 500mL beakers had bits and pieces of the substances in them. One of the beakers, which I will be refering to as Beaker 1, had bits of iron particles, salt, and sand on it. The other beaker, which I will be refering to as Beaker 2, had mostly sand and a very small amount of iron particles in it. It weighed
  • Our spoon had some iron, salt and sand on it. It's weight was 20g with the materials on it. When the spoon was clean and free of any other substances, it weighed , meaning that it had grams of substances on it.
  • The fine metal sieve had some small wood shavings and salt on it. It also had some sediment crusted on it.
  • The plastic funnel had trace amounts of salt and iron particles on the insides.
  • We had three beakers of completely separated materials: the iron filings, aluminum, and wood shavings. However, there was a very small amount of sand on the top of the aluminum beaker because some of the saltwater had splashed onto it.
  • We ended up with two 250mL beakers of mixtures. One of the beakers, which I will be calling Mixture 1, was a mix of sand and murky salt water. The water was murky because of some sediment from the sand. There was approximately 25mL of murky water and 50mL of sand. The other beaker, which I will be calling Mixture 2, was a mix of iron particles, salt, sediment, salt water, and some very small wood shavings.
  • There was also salt all over our green tray.
  • Small iron filings were attached to the tweezers.
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