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Not to be confused with molecular sieve.

A sieve or sifter, is a simple device for separating wanted elements from unwanted material or for characterizing the particle size distribution of a sample.

A strainer is a form of sieve used to separate solids from liquid, or to wash solids.


Sieves consist of a metal (galvanized or nickel-plated steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass) or plastic wire mesh attached to a short cylinder ring or to a ring with handle (often used for strainers), made of the same material or wood/plastic. Mesh size depends on the type of sieve.


Sieves and strainers can be bought from most hardware stores and kitchen stores.

Lab sieves can be bought from lab suppliers, though sieves with small size mesh are expensive.

Wooden strainers can sometimes be bought from various handicraft craftsmen.


  • Make fine (metal) powders
  • Sieve analysis
  • Extract gold from finger connectors


Sieves must be perfectly dry in order to be used when sifting fine powders. Most sieves cannot handle corrosive reagents, so avoid using them in corrosive environments.


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