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Distillation is one of the oldest methods of water treatment and is still in use today. It can effectively remove many contaminants from drinking water, including bacteria, inorganic and many organic compounds. The distillation process also removes oxygen and some trace metals from water. Various industries depend on the process of distillation to obtain pure water sources. Distillation is a process that relies on evaporation to purify water. Contaminated water is heated to form steam. Inorganic compounds and large non-volatile organic molecules do not evaporate with the water and are left behind. The steam then cools and condenses to form purified water.

Distillation Applications

The chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries and also the field of environmental technology all use and handle a wide range of solvents and volatile compounds in quite differing ways. Whether concentrating, cleaning or recovering, working with these solvents requires a high level of practical experience and a theoretical understanding of the chemical engineering principles underlying the processes of distillation, evaporation, stripping and rectification.

The food and beverage industry is one of the largest industries that depend on distillation. Being able to separate various elements from food or beverage can aid in manufacturing. One of the most common and well-known uses for distillation in the food and beverage industry is the process by which alcohol is made. The most common spirits that are created through the process of distillation are whiskey and gin.
DistillationThe process begins with a mixture of grains, barley, yeast and water combined together in a boiler to begin the fermentation process. The alcohol vapors from the boiler are collected and introduced to a cooling process where water is removed and the vapors are allowed to return to liquid form.
There are also many industrial uses for the process of distillation. For example, distillation is commonly used in petroleum refineries and chemical plants. Petroleum refineries depend on the process of distillation to obtain gas from crude oil. Different fractions of the column have various boiling levels, with the lowest being gas at the top. This process is called fractional distillation, and it is how petroleum manufacturers can obtain different types of oil for different uses.

These boilers can be operated continuously on any given day, so it is crucial that the fractional container remains operational and free from contaminates and any other type of buildup. If buildup impedes the gases from entering into the container from the boiler, this slows down production and it can also cause costly damage to equipment.


A variety of laboratories also apply distillation to their work. Laboratory professionals use a type of distillation for separating various materials from solvents at high boiling points or when materials change chemically when they reach high boiling levels. During the process, distillation is used to separate materials from a solvent without compromising the makeup of the original material. There are various types of distillation applications in laboratory settings, including, Perkin triangle distillation, rotary evaporation, and steam distillation.

 The process of distillation is used by many in the manufacturing and industrial fields. Being able to isolate one material from others, to create fine beverages, to extract various qualities of crude oil are all critically important functions in manufacturing, beverage production, and life sciences around the world, made successful with distillation. 

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