Simple distillation refers to the technique of purifying an organic liquid compound by precipitating and collecting the hot vapors coming off the boiling liquid. This method can also be used in identifying a substance by determining its boiling point.
The distillation process is said to have originated from the ancient Arab chemists around 3500 B.C.E. These early scientists used the technique to separate the components of perfume. In modern times, this process typically involves a distillation apparatus consisting of a boiling flask, collection flask, water supply tube, drainage tube, condenser and thermometer. The individual components of a compound separate, after being distilled, due to differences in boiling points. Other forms of distillation include fractional distillation and vacuum distillation.