Handpicking: A Separation Technique


In our daily lives we come across so many situations in which we have to separate some substances from a mixture in order to get a suitable substance for use. Some substances are easily separable just by taking out the impurities with hand. This method of separation is known as hand-picking. But some of them cannot be removed by hand, and we need some other methods of separation for such mixtures.

Handpicking : A Separation Technique

For example: In our house, our mother separates stones and insects from rice simply by hand. But in case of tea and tea leaves, the method of hand-picking is not sufficient for the separation and a filter is required. Thus, we can say that there are different methods to separate different mixtures depending upon the constituents of the mixture and the final product required. Some of these methods are carried out in dry conditions while some of them are carried in wet conditions.

The method in which substances in a mixture can be separated by just picking them out with the help of hand from the mixture is known as hand-picking method. It is one of the various methods which are carried out in dry conditions. The substances which are separated with the help of this method can be useful product or the impurities which need to be removed or both the substances which are separated can be useful products. This method is useful only when the substance which needs to be separated is in small quantity.

The substances in the hand-picking method can be separated on the basis of size, colour, shape, weight etc. Hand-picking examples are: If in a bowl, there are 7 round shaped boxes and 3 rectangular boxes then the boxes can be easily separated on the basis of shape.

Most methods have their advantages and limitations. The advantages of hand-picking and its disadvantages have been mentioned below:


  • This method doesn’t need any special machinery for the separation of substances.
  • It takes less time when used for a small quantity.


  • It is not feasible for large quantity of substances.
  • It is only possible when substances are visibly different.

This was just the brief layout about one of the separation technique of substances i.e. hand-picking.

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