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Air

D. Crowley, 2007

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Air
To know what air is, and how it can be separated

Separating Mixtures
Working in pairs, identify ways in which we can separate mixtures
If you can, draw some basic diagrams explaining these

Separating
To separate mixtures we can use a variety of techniques - the method used depends upon the mixture
Filtration

Evaporation
Distillation

Chromatography

Filtration
Filtration separates an insoluble solid (does not dissolve) from a liquid
E.g. sand and water can be separated using filtration

Evaporation
Evaporation separates a soluble solid (dissolved) from a liquid
E.g. water can be evaporated from salty water, leaving the salt behind

Distillation
Distillation can separate a liquid from a solution. The liquid evaporates from the solution, is cooled and condenses (which you then collect). Different liquids boil at different temperatures, so it is possible to distill a solution containing many liquids E.g. water can be separated from salty water

Chromatography
Chromatography can separate dissolved substances which have different colours. It works because some of the coloured substances dissolve in liquid better than others, so traveling further up the paper
E.g. an ink or dye can be split into the different colours which make it up

Air
What is air?
Air is a mixture of gases: -

Nitrogen (78%)
Oxygen (21%)

Others (~1%) - argon; carbon dioxide; water vapour

Separating Air
Write down what method you think is best for separating air
Explain why you think your idea will be most suitable (using the science behind the method)

Fractional Distillation
Fractional distillation is used to separate air
Fractional distillation can separate different liquids due to their differences in boiling point It works as follows

Fractional Distillation
Initially the carbon dioxide, water vapour and dust are removed from the air (as these clog the machine)
The air is then compressed, cooled, and allowed to expand

When the air is allowed to expand it gets cooler


This is repeated, until the air becomes liquid

Fractional Distillation
Now the air is in liquid form, it is pumped into the fractionating column
As this liquid air is slowly allowed to warm, the different components begin to boil off These are collected, and the air has been separated

Fractional Distillation
The liquid at the top is extremely cold. As you go further down the column, the liquid gets hotter. Nitrogen boils at -195C so is collected off first, as it boils almost straight away Argon boils at -186C, so is collected between the nitrogen and oxygen

Oxygen boils at -183C so gets all the way to the bottom before it boils, and can be collected

Fractional Distillation
Using the worksheet, cut out the statements, and put them in the correct order Stick this, and your fractionating column in

Fractional Distillation
1. 2. 3.
4. 5.

6.

Air from the atmosphere is pumped in The air is cleaned of water vapour in the drier The air is passed through a soda lime filter to remove the carbon dioxide The air is now cooled to a very low temperature The air is sent to the distillation column where liquid nitrogen (-196C) rises to the top; liquid argon (-186C) settles in the middle; and liquid oxygen (-183C) falls to the bottom Each very cold liquid pours off, to be distributed in a liquid tanker, pipeline or cylinder