What Is the Purpose of Decanting in Chemistry?

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The purpose of decanting in chemistry has to do with separation. Find out about the purpose of decanting in chemistry with help from an experienced chemistry professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Chemistry & Biology Concepts
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Robin Higgins and this is what is the purpose of decanting in chemistry. Okay, so decanting is basically a way of separating things, separation. Okay so in chemistry what that usually means is getting your little test tube and let's say it's full of something that's a little bit dirty and you want to separate out the kind of solids, the heavy stuff in it. So what you do is basically just balance it at some kind of uneven angle and usually standard is about 45 and if you wait over time all of the solids will start to form on the bottom here and this is just because of density. Something that's dense that weighs more is going to sink to the bottom where everything that's lighter will stay on top. And so this is decanting in general. So you've probably heard it in everyday life with one and what that means is if you have a bottle of wine you don't really know if that wine has its particulates in the middle of it or on the bottom that's been sitting awhile and you bring a map and you shake it around, all of the things that you get when you make wine, there's some impurities and those impurities usually taste bad. So when you pour out the wine, you're just going to let it sit for awhile and all the impurities will kind of go to the bottom. And then when you pour it they won't come out into your glass. So sometimes decanting takes a super long time and biologists or chemists can get it done faster. So when that happens, they use a centrifuge and what a centrifuge is is basically a bunch of rooms for test tubes and you spin them super fast. So you put your little test tube in and it spins at an incredibly high speed for a couple minutes and then this process is forced to happen a lot faster. So a common way that scientists do this is separating blood from plasma. You spin, you spin, you spin and then these two things separate and you can collect whichever one you need. I'm Robin Higgins and this is what is the purpose of decanting in chemistry.


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