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What are types of distillation?

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Quick Answer

Types of distillation include simple distillation, fractional distillation and destructive distillation. Distillation is the process of separating mixtures based on the differences required to change the phase (liquid to gas) of the components of the mixture. This means the substances are evaporated at different pressures and different temperatures. In addition to simple, fractional and destructive, several other methods of distillation exist, including vacuum, solar, flash and vapor distillation.

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Simple distillation can be used when the liquids involved have several common properties. The liquids should be relatively pure with no more than 10 percent contaminants. The liquid should also have a non-volatile component, such as a solid. Finally, the liquid should be contaminated by a liquid that has a boiling point that differs by at least 70 degrees Celsius. When boiling points of two liquids are similar, simple distillation cannot be used. Instead, fractional distillation is the preferred method. Fractional distillation is used when differences in boiling points are less than 70 degrees Celsius. Distillation has many applications in commercial processes. It is used in the production of gasoline and in the purification of water. Water that has undergone this process is called distilled water. Distillation is also used in the manufacturing of xylene, paraffin, alcohol, kerosene and many other liquids.

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