How to make a homemade decanter

Decanting is one of the most widely used liquid-liquid separation processes in laboratory or industrial techniques, as it uses the force of gravity to separate a mixture of liquids of different densities. Today, we will look at how to make a homemade decanter and simple that we can use as a laboratory tool to carry out our experiments effectively.

Reverse decanter



- A piece of wood 10 cm long by 10 cm wide.

- Two 15×3 cm vertical supports.

- A 15×10 cm plywood sheet.

- A plastic bottle (preferably PET).

- A syringe.

Decanter assembly

We start by fixing the vertical supports to the piece of wood, placing them on each side of the piece of wood. Depending on the material of the supports, we can fix them with nails (if they are made of wood) or with glue (if they are plastic), in this way, we will create a kind of base.

Next, we make a hole in the centre of the plywood sheet with a diameter equal to the neck of the bottle we are going to use. Then, we fix the plywood sheet on the wooden supports of the base we have just created.

The next step is to cut the bottle into two parts with the help of a blade. The concave part of the bottle will be used to collect liquid, while the part with the neck will be our decanter, which is why we must fix it by exerting pressure on the hole in the plywood until the neck fits a little over the hole, and the decanter is stable on its support.

Laboratory Decanter

In the bottle cap, we make a hole of sufficient diameter so that the tip of the syringe can enter easily, and also remain stable on it, i.e. the needle of the syringe must go through the bottle cap and remain protruding from it without movement.

Once this is done, our decanter is ready and it is time to test it. To do this, we make a traditional mixture of example, we will use water and oil and we will mix it for a while. Then, we pour the mixture into the decanter and place an empty container under the needle of the syringe to collect the liquid. We will see that by gravity the water will separate from the oil and by the effect of the same gravity, the water will start to drip into our container.

After emptying all the water, it is time to change containers to collect the oil. This separation takes place, thanks to the combination of the acceleration of gravity and the difference in density between the two liquids.

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