If you have ever taken a science class, you have probably heard of distilled water. Distilled water is a type of purified H2O that went through extractive distillation. This water is used in lab settings because it removes contaminations or microorganisms that occur in water. In this process of distillation, not only are the impurities removed from water, but also the minerals that naturally occur in water. The removal of these minerals is what makes distilled water good for experiments to prevent contamination. However, these minerals are also what the human body needs to survive. This type of water gets its name from the process that it goes through to purify it.
How is Extractive Distillation Done?
Distillation is the process of purifying a solution through successive evaporation and condensation. In layman’s terms, this process converts liquid to vapor, and then back into a liquid. A good general example of this process is the steam that comes out of a kettle (water vapor) returning to liquid form. The liquid is put into a separate container, which is what aids the purification process. Extractive distillation is a form of purification that separates liquids from nonvolatile solids. This process adds a third substance to the purification process. When you have two different substances, they usually have different boiling points. Although they are different, if they are close, it can be difficult to separate the two. Extractive distillation is different from simple distillation by adding that third component to change the boiling point of the original compound, thus making it easier to separate. This third part usually does not vaporize during the distillation process.
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