A woman has a pot that contains a mixture of sand, salt, sawdust, and iron filings in it. She needs to separate all the different parts, how does she do it?


1 Answer 1


Assuming you're allowed to use commonly available materials:

Use a magnet to remove the iron filings, then fill the bucket with water and wait for the salt to dissolve. The sawdust might float but will definitely settle more slowly than the sand, allowing easy separation by pouring off the water and filtering out the sawdust. The water can then be evaporated to recover the salt.

  • $\begingroup$ correct! nice job! $\endgroup$
    – Parzival
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 0:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Alternately, if you're allowed to use rarely available materials, a centrifuge. $\endgroup$
    – P...
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 0:24

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