How do I get clean sand from a mixture of sand and little bits of iron? 

Expert Answers
electreto05 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If the mixture has only sand and small pieces of iron, must spread the mixture on a flat surface, so that a layer is obtained as small as possible. Then, you are spending on a permanent magnet over the surface of the mixture, trying that the magnet be in contact with the surface; this operation should be performed over the entire surface.

The reason for this procedure is that the ferrous materials are ferromagnetic, that is they are strongly attracted by the magnetic field. In this case, the magnet will only remove the pieces of material containing iron that are in the mix.

If you have other nonferrous materials in the mix, they will be not removed.

I hope this suggestion will help you.

teachelderj eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This will be a fun experiment. You are going to utilize the concept of magnetism as it relates to the iron fillings. Essentially, the substance that you have together is a heterogeneous mixture. In other words, you are able to identify each individual substance in the mixture. As a result, one of the properties of iron is that it is attracted to magnets because it is a metal.

Therefore, take a nice sized filter and place the magnets at the mouth of the filter. Pour your mixture from its container into the filter. The iron fillings will automatically attract to the magnets and you will be left with nothing but sand in the bottom of the container.

gsarora17 | Student

Clean sand can be separated from a mixture of sand and little bits of iron by magnetic separation method. Magnetic separation takes advantage of difference in the magnetic properties of the two materials. Iron being a ferromagnetic material will stick to the poles of the magnet. Magnetism is ideal for separating mixture of two solids with one part having magnetic properties. 

Spread out the mixture on a flat surface. Run a magnet bar over the surface. Magnetic elements (iron) will be attracted to the magnet over it. After a number of runs, all the sand will be free from any iron.

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missandress | Student

One tried and true method for separating iron filings from sand is to use a magnet. By simply holding the magnet above the mixture and moving it slowly, the iron filings and magnet will attract, causing the iron to stick to the magnet. If iron filings still remain in the sand, try spreading the sand out to make the iron more accessible. Repeat this process until the iron filings are completely separated from the sand, leaving you with clean sand.