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Difference Between Filtration and Decantation: Examples, Procedure, Advantages & Disadvantages of Decantation


Decantation is a process in which the separation of mixtures of immiscible liquid-like suspension takes place. For example, if we leave a bucket full of water mixed with sand or mud, then we see that after some time the insoluble particles settle down at the lower end of the bucket. Immiscible liquids are those that do not combine together to form a solution.

Difference between Filtration and Decantation

Both Filtration and Decantation are used to separate impurities from liquids. Filtration is the separation of the whole solution through a filter. The solid material is trapped by the filter and allows liquid to pass through it. Decantation is the process in which liquid is removed from the solid impurities which are settled at the bottom of a container.

Procedure of Decantation

There are two procedures of Decantation -

1. Immiscible Liquid Separation
Decantation is used to separate two liquids of different densities. For example, when water and oil are mixed, they form two separate layers. Water is denser than oil due to which it settles at the bottom and oil floats on it. You can also separate it by using a funnel. It allows the effective separation of two immiscible liquids.
2. Liquid-Solid Separation
The decantation process also helps to separate insoluble solids from liquid. This method is used in the laboratory. The test tube is placed at a 45-degree temperature to allow sedimentation. Eg grease on the top of the soup, mud in, a mixture of oil and water, liquid from mustard.

Examples of Decantation

The decantation process is helpful in our daily lives in many ways. Here are some examples of this process.
1. Red wine is decanted from a crystal of potassium bitartrate to avoid loss of taste.
2. Cream present on top of milk is decanted. It allows the separation of cream and milk. This is used in the cheese industry.
3. Muddy water is transferred to another container to obtain a sample of water.
4. Decantation also has applications in nanotechnology.
5. It is used to purify the liquid from the sediment of insoluble particles.
6. It is used in the sugar industry to granular sugarcane into sugar
7. It allows the process of deriving grape vinegar to remove fats from raw material.
8. It is used to remove plasma from the blood while performing diagnostics tests.
9. It is used in the froth floatation method. The froth flotation method is a process in which the separation of hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials from each other takes place.
10. Sometimes mercury is disposed of in water bodies which results in toxic water and is unfit for consumption. This mercury is removed by the process of Decantation.

Advantages of Decantation

There are many advantages of decantation -

  • It is an easy process
  • It can be performed manually
  • It can easily separate immiscible liquids

Disadvantages of Decantation

The disadvantages of decantation are -

  • It cannot separate solids or liquids that dissolve in a mixture
  • It cannot separate salt from water
  • It cannot separate impurities like chalk powder from water
  • It cannot remove small-sized impurities
  • It cannot remove microscopic impurities

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