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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
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.
  • 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.
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.
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.
  • 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