How to distingush organic layer and aqueous layer?
The organic layer is the one on top. Most organic solvents are less dense than water. (NOte: Non-hydrocarbons such as chloroform, methylene chloride, carbon tetrachloride etc are more dense than water.)
To distinguish between the organic layer and the aqueous layer, you can follow these steps:
1. If you have a mixture of water and an organic solvent, shake the mixture gently to ensure thorough mixing.
2. Allow the mixture to settle undisturbed for some time, usually a few minutes, to allow phase separation to occur. During this time, the heavier layer will settle at the bottom and the lighter layer will rise to the top.
3. After settling, carefully observe the container. The layer on top, which appears separate and usually has a different color or transparency than the layer below, is the organic layer. This layer contains the organic solvent.
4. The layer at the bottom, which usually appears more clear and has a different density than the upper layer, is the aqueous layer. It consists of water and any water-soluble substances present in the mixture.
Note that if the organic solvent is denser than water, such as with non-hydrocarbon solvents like chloroform, methylene chloride, or carbon tetrachloride, the organic layer will be at the bottom instead. In such cases, the organic layer will be the denser layer and the aqueous layer will be the lighter one on top.