Is there any conceivable way to separate Splenda & sugar that have been mixed together?

Please note that I didn’t ask if there were any practical way to do so; clearly it’s going to be faster and cheaper just to buy a new bag of Splenda.


My sister was recently visiting from out of town. While at my house she did a great deal of baking, and thus used a lot of sugar. When refilling the containers, she accidentally put sugar in the Splenda bin. I have type 2 diabetes, so I don’t touch table sugar; neither does Mrs. Rhymer. We only had the sugar around for baking purposes when we’re cooking for other persons. So when I realized what my sister had done, I shrugged and dumped the mixture, which another member of the RhymerClan objected to, calling it wasteful.

I can’t imagine any way in which someone, using items commonly found in a household, would be able to separate these; the person who objected said there must be, but was not able to name one. Am I wrong?

I remember a Mr Wizard show (or maybe it was Beakman) where they separated salt and pepper by getting a good static charge on a comb, wrapping it in wax paper and using that to pull out the pepper.
However I don’t think that would work with Sugar and Splenda.

Since you added the requirement that it has to be done with items commonly found around the house (as in, not a microscope), the only thing I’m guessing is that maybe you could find a liquid that only one of them is soluble in.

Of course, would you want to use Sugar or Splenda that’s been soaked in say hair spray or toilet bowl cleaner?

The Splenda that I have used has been a bit finer than regular granulated sugar, so with the proper sized sieve you could conceivably separate them to some degree, but not 100%.

I can think of several theoretical ways to do this, but nothing that one is going to be able to do with household equipment.

  1. use differences in density to separate the two substances (use a stream of air to fractionate them).
  2. use differences in granule size - I believe that Splenda is finer that table sugar, so it should be possible to sift the sugar out.

Bottom line - it’s going to be way cheaper to just throw the mixture away.

Don’t worry about seperating it, bake with it.

I bake with a 50/50 mix (I’m type 2 also) that gives the goods body but cuts the sugar in half. They actually sell the stuff mixed (which means you’re paying Splenda prices for the half that’s sugar).

Heat the blend under dry heat until the sugar (sucrose) melts and the Splenda (sucralose) doesn’t.

How are you going to separate the Splenda from the gooey caramel after the sugar melts?

We already tossed it. Neither of us eats sugar; we only had it around for baking for other people. The accidental mixture was taking up space on the counter.

Some of the previous ideas might work. The solubility may be different. You could dissolve the mixture in as little hot water as possible, then slowly cool it. One or the other might crystallize out first.

You could also try things like alcohol or acetone.

Throwing it out worked for sure.

Splenda ALREADY contains two sugars, dextrose and maltodextrin.

So what? The question isn’t about the chemical composition of Splenda.

But the dextrose and maltodextrin components are crucial. They are probably at minimum 99% of the physical composition of an ounce of Splenda. The physical sucralose is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar so there needs to be only 1/100s of the amount. You probably couldn’t find the sucralose under a microscope. All you have are dextrose and maltodextrin. It’s like a vitamin tablet. You can’t pick the actual vitamin out of the filler if you tried.

Oh, that’s a detail for the engineering department, I’m an idea guy and I have shown how to get the two substances into different states. Once you do that they can be separated.

Skald said the solution didn’t need to be practical.

Perhaps a heated centrifuge would separate the liquid sugar from the solid Splenda.

Or we could leave them both in their cooled, solid state and employ sugar ants to carry away the sugar and leave the Splenda behind.

Could take time, but it doesn’t have to be practical.

I bet if you had an army of ants, they would eventually carry off all the sugar and leave the Splenda behind.

Oh yeah, ants!! I have heard (possible urban legend I guess) that ants can tell the difference and won’t eat calorie free sweeteners. So, just leave the mix next to an ant nest, wait awhile, and when you come back all you’ll have left is splenda.

ETA: beaten to the punch. damn.

Hmm. I’m going to take this as a suggestion that I dig my bee-control machinery out of mothballs and rejigger it.

I’ll take it under consideration, but frankly I’m not sure I can be trusted.

This is assuming you could actually get the two into different states. I suspect that even if the Splenda won’t melt per se, it’d still dissolve in molten sugar.

My suggestion was going to be a sort of fractional distillation in aqueous solution: One of them has to be more soluble than the other, so a saturated solution will tend to have a bias one way or the other in the precipitate. In practice, you’d probably have to do this multiple times to get the desired purities, and might have to separate out the sucralose and filler sugars separately.

The most practical solution, of course, is to send the mixture home with the relative who was using the sugar. Sugar would harm Skald, but sucralose wouldn’t harm the relative.

Maybe a health-conscious vampire could be persuaded to take on the job?

This may be useful to those smarter than I.

ETA: but only if I actually post the link :smack:

Sprinkle it on a tray so that the grains are well separated. Heat, allow to cool and shake off the splenda (the sugar remaining stuck to the tray in the form of specks of caramel)