To remove suspended matter from muddy water in three stages: using sedimentation, filtration as well as chemical treatment
Muddy water, which ideally is discolored owing to a high amount of suspended particles, can be turned into clear water devoid of the particulate impurities. This however, is not necessarily ‘pure water’ since disease causing germs such as bacteria or viruses which cannot be seen with the naked eye may still be present in the clear liquid. These microscopic pathogens are so small that they cannot be removed by simple processes like sedimentation or filtration; instead these require specialized treatments or at least boiling to minimize the risk that they bring along.
- Muddy water
- Three beakers
- Glass funnel
- Stand with holder
- Filter paper
- Glass rod
- Two tall jars
Estimated Experiment Time
Approximately 5 to 8 hours
- 1. Pour muddy water in the beaker and set it aside for the suspended particles to settle. After some time pour out the muddy water carefully without disturbing the particles collected at the base of the beaker.
- 2. Set up the stand with holder to hold the glass funnel over the second beaker.
- 3. Fold a filter paper twice to form a cone before placing it in the funnel.
- 4. Pour the less muddy water through the filter using the glass rod.
- 5. Collect the water that passes through (known as the filtrate) in another beaker.
- 6. Divide the filtrate which still contains tiny particles in suspension, into two.
- 7. Pour it into two tall jars; to one jar add some powdered potash alum and leave the other as a control for comparison.
- It is advisable to use a few drops of water to moisten the filter paper after placing it in the glass funnel; this will help it stay in place by ‘sticking’ to the sides of it.
- Using the glass rod to pour the muddy water into the funnel helps a steady stream of the liquid flow, thereby minimizing the possibility of spills.
When the muddy water is first allowed to settle, a layer of particles settles at the base of the beaker; when the filtrate is poured through the filter paper finer particles get collected in the glass funnel. Finally, when the filtered water is treated with Alum, even the finest of suspended particles settle to the base of the glass jar. The control jar (the one without the Alum) is slightly less clear as compared to the former and takes longer for the fine suspended particles to settle down.
A series of steps and processes are essential to purifying water. While leaving muddy water to settle causes the bigger suspended particles to collect at the base of the container, filtering it helps remove the smaller particles. Finally, Alum treatment takes care of the finest particles leaving very clear water behind.
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