Beginning in the late 1840s, thousands of prospectors rushed to California insearch ofgold. One of the approaches taken to isolate the gold from the soil was called "panning". To pan, dirt isplaced in a pan and covered with water. After mixing thoroughly, the pan is gently swirled to remove dissolved material, while the heavier gold settles to the bottom of the pan. The gold is then separated from the mixture of soil and water.

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Not everyone is out to search for gold (and not many searches will get much gold, either). In a les-grizzlys-catalans.orgical reaction, it is important to isolate the component(s) of interest from other materials, so thatthey can be further characterized. Studies of bioles-grizzlys-catalans.orgical systems, environmental analysis, and pharmaceutical research, among others, mayrequire reliable separation methods. Following are a number of common separation techniques.


Chromatography

Chromatography is the separation of a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension, or as a vapor (as in gas chromatography), through a medium in which the components move at different rates. Thin-layer chromatography is a special type of chromatography used for separating and identifying mixtures that are or can be colored, especially pigments.


Distillation

Distillation is an effective method to separate mixtures that are comprised of two or more pure liquids. Distillation is a purification process where the components of a liquid mixture are vaporized and then condensed and isolated. In simple distillation, a mixture is heated, and the most volatile component vaporizes at the lowest temperature. The vapor passes through a cooled tube (a condenser), where it condenses back into its liquid state. The condensate that is collected is called distillate.

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Once the sea water in these evaporation ponds has evaporated, the salt can be harvested.

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Filtration

Filtration is a separation method used to separate out pure substances in mixtures comprised of particles—some of which are large enough in size to be captured with a porous material. Particle size can vary considerably, given the type of mixture. For instance, stream water is a mixture that contains naturally occurring biological organisms like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Some water filters can filter out bacteria, the length of which are on the order of 1 micron. Other mixtures, like soil, have relatively large particle sizes, which can be filtered through something like a coffee filter.