Sunteți pe pagina 1din 10

Particles and mixtures

Chemists explain the properties and reactions of chemicals using ideas about particles.
Particles range from individual atoms right up to particles that are big enough to see, like
grains of sand.

Evidence for particles - dilution

A solution is made when a solute, usually a soluble solid compound, is dissolved into a liquid
called a solvent, typically water.

If the solute is white (eg sodium chloride) then the solution is colourless. This is because
the individual particles (in this case, ions) in the sodium chloride crystals break apart and
spread out through the water.

If the solute is coloured (eg blue copper sulfate) then the solution will have a colour. As
with the white solute, the particles are now too small to see, and evenly spread out.

Adding more water to copper sulfate solution will make it a paler shade of blue, because the
blue particles will now be further apart. This shows that both the solute and solvent are made
from tiny particles.

Evidence for particles - diffusion

Diffusion in gases

When chemicals, like the smell of perfume or burning toast, are let loose in a room, the
particles mix with the air particles. The particles of smelly gas are free to move quickly in all
directions. They eventually spread throughout the whole room. This is called diffusion.

Diffusion in gases is quick because the particles in a gas move quickly. It happens even
faster in hot gases.
Diffusion happens quickly in gases

Diffusion in liquids

Diffusion can also happen in liquids. This is because the particles in liquids can move around
each other, which means that eventually they are evenly mixed.

For example, if you drop a little bit of paint into a jar of water the colour will spread slowly
through the water by diffusion.

Diffusion in liquids is slower than in gases because the particles in a liquid move more


Diffusion does not happen at all in solids because the particles in a solid can only vibrate on
the spot, rather than being able to move from place to place.

Particles - definitions


 The smallest particle of an element.

 Scientists originally thought that atoms could not be split up, but this is not the case.


 A cluster of non-metal atoms that are chemically bonded together.

 The atoms in a molecule are joined by covalent bonds.
 The atoms always join in fixed ratios and molecules have a specific formula, eg H2O
or N2.
 There are molecules of compounds (eg CH4) and molecules of elements (eg O2).


 A pure substance that is listed on the periodic table and only has one type of atom in
 There are over 100 elements.
 Most are metals, a few are semi-metals, and the rest are non-metals.


 A pure substance made from more than one type of element chemically bonded
 Elements bond in fixed ratios and so can be represented by a chemical formula. For
example, sodium chloride has the same number of sodium ions and chloride ions, so
its formula is NaCl; whereas water is always made from twice the number of
hydrogen atoms as oxygen atoms, so it is H2O.

 An impure substance made from different elements or compounds.
 Mixtures can usually be separated by physical techniques such as filtering and
 Air is a mixture that contains the elements nitrogen, oxygen and argon, and also the
compound carbon dioxide.

A mixture is made from different substances that are not chemically joined.

For example, powdered iron and powdered sulfur mixed together makes a mixture of iron and
sulfur. They can be separated from each other without a chemical reaction, in the way that
different coloured sweets can be picked out from a mixed packet and put into separate piles.

There are times when the purity of a substance is very important. For example, a medicine
must not contain any harmful chemicals.

Mixtures and compounds

Mixtures have different properties from compounds. The table summarises these differences.

Mixture Compound
Variable composition – you can vary Definite composition – you cannot
Composition the amount of each substance in a vary the amount of each element in a
mixture compound
Joined or The different substances are not The different elements are chemically
not chemically joined together joined together
The compound has properties which
Each substance in the mixture keeps
Properties are different from the elements it
its own properties
Mixture Compound
Each substance is easily separated It can only be separated into its
from the mixture elements using chemical reactions
Water, carbon dioxide, magnesium
Examples Air, sea water, most rocks
oxide, sodium chloride

An example - iron, sulfur and iron sulfide

Iron and sulfur react together when they are heated to make a compound called iron sulfide.
What are the differences between a mixture of iron and sulfur, and iron sulfide? Here are
some of them:

 the mixture can contain more or less iron, but iron sulfide always contains equal
amounts of iron and sulfur
 the iron and sulfur atoms are not joined together in the mixture, but they are joined
together in iron sulfide
 the iron and sulfur still behave like iron and sulfur in the mixture, but iron sulfide has
different properties from both iron and sulfur
 you can separate the iron from the mixture using a magnet, but this does not work for
iron sulfide

Simple distillation
 Distillation separates a liquid from a solution. For example, water can be separated
from salty water by simple distillation. This method works because the water
evaporates from the solution, but is then cooled and condensed into a separate
container. The salt does not evaporate and so it stays behind.

Separating a liquid from a solution

 Simple distillation
 1. Salty water is heated
 2. The water vapour cools in the condenser and drips into a beaker

 3. The water has condensed and is now in the beaker, the salt stays behind

Fractional distillation

 Fractional distillation can be used to separate two or more liquids. For example,
ethanol (alcohol) can be separated from a mixture of ethanol and water because the
two liquids have different boiling points.

Separating two or more liquids

Distillation process to separate ethanol from water 1. Water and ethanol solution is heated
2. The ethanol evaporates first, cools, then condenses

3. The water left evaporates, cools, then condenses

Fractional distillation is used to separate crude oil into useful liquids that have different
boiling points. Petrol and diesel are useful fractions of crude oil.

Paper chromatography

Chromatography can be used to separate mixtures of coloured compounds. Mixtures that are
suitable for separation by chromatography include inks, dyes and colouring agents in food.

Simple chromatography is carried out on paper. A spot of the mixture is placed near the
bottom of a piece of chromatography paper. The paper is then placed upright in a suitable
solvent, such as water.

As the solvent soaks up the paper, it carries the mixtures with it. Different components of the
mixture will move at different rates. This separates the mixture out.
1.Spots of ink or plant dye are placed on a pencil line

2. As the paper is lowered into the solvent, some of the dye spreads up the paper

3. The paper has absorbed the solvent, and the dye has spread further up the paper

Rf values

Different chromatograms and the separated components of the mixtures can be identified by
calculating the retardation factor (Rf). The Rf value is worked out by using this equation:

Rf = distance moved by the compound ÷ distance moved by the solvent

The Rf value of a particular compound is always the same if the chromatography has been
carried out in the same way. This allows industry to use chromatography to identify
compounds in mixtures.
Chromatography can also be done when the different substances in the mixture are
colourless. The chromatogram can be exposed to a locating agent, which reacts with the
invisible chemicals so that they can be seen.

Chromatography paper next to a measurement scale shows distances travelled by the solvent
and substance

Filtration and crystallisation


This technique is used to separate an insoluble solid from a liquid. It can be used to obtain
a product that is free from unreacted chemicals, by-products or solvent.

Separating insoluble solids

1.One beaker contains a mixture of solid and liquid, the other contains a funnel with filter
2. The solid and liquid mixture is poured into the filter funnel

3. The liquid drips through the filter paper but the solid particles are caught in the filter paper


When a product is made as a solution, one way to separate it from the solvent is to make
crystals. This involves evaporating the solution to a much smaller volume and then leaving it
to cool. As the solution cools, crystals form, and these can be obtained by filtration


1. atomAll elements are made of atoms. An atom consists of a nucleus containing

protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons.
2. chromatogramsThe results of separating mixtures by chromatography.
3. compoundA substance formed by the chemical union of two or more elements.
4. condensationA change of state in which gas becomes liquid by cooling.
5. covalent bondA bond between atoms formed when atoms share electrons to achieve a
full outer shell of electrons.
6. crude oilMixture of hydrocarbons, mainly alkanes, formed over millions of years
from the remains of ancient dead marine organisms.
7. distillationA separation technique which involves a solution being heated so that the
solvent evaporates before being cooled to form a pure liquid.
8. electronSubatomic particle, with a negative charge and a negligible mass relative to
protons and neutrons.
9. elementA substance made of one type of atom only.
10. evaporateEvaporation is the process in which a liquid turns into a gas.
11. filteringThe process of passing a mixture through a device - soluble substances pass
through the filter as a 'filtrate' but insoluble substances or unwanted material will stay
in the filter as a 'residue'.
12. fractionIn fractional distillation, such as that of crude oil, the different parts of the
original mixture are called fractions. The substances in each fraction have similar
boiling points to each other.
13. ionElectrically charged particle, formed when an atom or molecule gains or loses
14. locating agentA substance used to detect another substance by making it visible.
15. periodic tableA tabular representation of all known elements in order based on atomic
number, eg all the noble gases are found on the right of the periodic table.
16. retardation factorAlso called 'retention factor' and abbreviated to Rf. In
chromatography, the distance travelled by a substance divided by the distance
travelled by the solvent.
17. soluteThe dissolved substance in a solution.
18. solventThe liquid in which the solute dissolves to form a solution.