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Simple distillation method is used to extract a liquid from a solution, .i.e. separating the solvent that dissolves substances from a solute.
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
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Simple distillation setup
Simple distillation works well when the substances to be separated have entirely different boiling points. For example, 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.
Function:
  • Initially, we heat the solution to vaporise the liquid. To cool down the hot stream of the liquid, we use water. Then, it condensed into pure liquid.
Example:
Let us see if we can separate the acetone and the water from the mixture:

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

Step 2: It should be fitted with a thermometer.

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.
 
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Simple Distillation

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

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.
Application:
  • Few countries use the distillation process to convert seawater into drinking water
  • This process is 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