What is distillation definition and meaning?
Distillation definition is as a process of separating two substances forming a homogeneous mixture. Eachfollowing an evaporation temperature curve at a given (for example 82 ° C for a mixture of 50% water and 50% ethanol), it suffices to heat the mixture and collect the vapor of the one which is the most volatile up (ethanol in our example) as you go. This is then cooled by passing through a coil to give the distillate.
The latter is carried out using a distillation column (for example a Vigreux column) comprising different levels of hollow points which condense the vapors as they rise. With a sufficient number of stages, an almost pure distillate of the most volatile liquid is obtained.
Acomplete however, is not always possible to get. In the case of the water-ethanol mixture for example, a proportion of 95% ethanol to 5% water is obtained.
History of distillation
The first stills used for distillation were found in Mesopotamia, dating back around 3,500 years. First used toand decoctions, they were then used to by distillation of fermented fruits. Distillation was also widely used by alchemists in the Middle Ages. Stills and retorts have largely been replaced today but are still appreciated for certain fine and liqueurs such as cognac or scotch whiskey, as well as for in perfumery.
Uses of distillation
Distillation is a process widely used in industry to separate or purify products.
- oil is injected into a large distillation tower about 60 meters high where it is heated to 400 ° C. Thelightest ( and petrol) are thus collected at the top of the tower, the heaviest (oils, bitumens, etc.) remaining at the bottom. Medium hydrocarbons undergo a second phase of so-called vacuum distillation, making it easier to recover the heavy residues whose boiling point is lowered.
- fractionation towers are used to separate or purify gases ( , liquid , , etc.). The distillation of chlorosilane also produces high quality for the industry .
- Desalination of sea water.
- Perfumery and pharmacy: distillation is used to extract compounds from plants, or to obtain water of high chemical and microbial purity for the manufacture of medicines.
- distillation is mainly used for the production of spirits, but conversely is also used to eliminate alcohol to obtain alcohol-free beer, for example.
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