Simple distillation method is used to extract a liquid from a solution i.e separating the solvent that dissolves substances from a solute - the substance that had dissolved.
Principle: The objective of the distillation process is to obtain the pure form of liquid from the solution. Distillation is the combination process of evaporation and condensation.
 Evaporation + Condensation = Distillation
Simple distillation setup
Simple distillation works well when the substances to be separated have entirely different boiling points, such as salt and water. Water (Boiling point \(100\ °C\)) and propanone (boiling point \(60\ °C\)), but it is an overly simplistic process for separating a mixture of liquids, particularly when the boiling points of the constituents are near.
  • The solution is heated to vaporise the liquid. The water is used to cool the liquid's hot steam; then, it is condensed into pure liquid. 
  • Initially, we heat the solution to vaporise the liquid. To cool it down the hot stream of the liquid, we use water. Then, it condensed into pure liquid.
Let us see how we can separate the solution of acetone and water.

Step 1: Fill a distillation flask halfway with the mixture.

Step 2: Set up the apparatus as show in the figure.

Step 3: Slowly heat the mixture, keeping an eye on the thermometer.

Step 4: Acetone evaporates, condenses in the condenser, and is deposited at the condenser outlet.
Simple distillation

Observation: In the distillation flask, water is left behind.

Result: The boiling point of acetone is \(56°C\), and water is \(100°C\). Therefore, acetone evaporates faster compared to water when heated. Thus, finally, the mixture of acetone and water is separated with the help of simple distillation.
  • There is a piece of evidence that humans were using the distillation process since \(3000\) BC (approximately). This process is used to make a distilled water.
  • Few countries use the distillation process to convert seawater into drinking water
  • This process also used to refine the crude oil and to purify the alcohol, and more.
Advantages of simple distillation over fractional distillation:
  • This process is faster compared to fractional distillation.
  • It requires less energy input.
  • The apparatus is simpler and cost-effective.
Simple distillation