Simple distillation involves refining a liquid through the process of separation. Simple distillation is possible using two primary methods known as flash distillation and fractional distillation. The most common purpose for simple distillation is to purify drinking water of unwanted chemicals and minerals such as salt. There are a variety of machines that distill liquids for the purpose of purification or alteration. Distillation is a necessary step in creating many products and offers an additional method for water purification.
Distillation was likely invented by the Chinese. The process was used by some early civilizations to create alcohol. Today distillation continues to improve the quality of life by providing purer liquids and liquid products.
Simple fractional distillation is the process of separating a liquid from chemicals and minerals, or separating two liquids with different boiling points, by simply bringing the mixture to the lowest boiling point and collecting the resulting condensation. Because most unwanted solids within a liquid do not boil, and different liquids often boil at separate temperatures, the condensation is a pure form of the liquid in the boiling chamber. Once the condensation collects on a cold surface, a machine directs it to the holding chamber.
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Flash distillation is the process of abruptly exposing a liquid held at a high pressure to a chamber with a lower pressure. The sudden difference in pressure creates a reaction that turns the liquid water into vapor. Once the water is in vapor form, it collects on a cold surface and travels to the holding chamber. Flash distillation is the most common form of simple distillation used to purify ocean water. Flash distillation requires a constant flow of liquid.
Simple distillation is the primary method used for purifying drinking water on both a large and small scale. There are many models available for purifying water on a smaller scale. Simple distillation is also a primary method for the purification of ethanol into fuel grade alcohol. The alcohol industry uses simple distillation to improve the concentration of alcohol.
Simple distillation technology can help improve water purity in underdeveloped countries, or areas that have lost the use of municipal water systems. Simple water distillation helps remove impurities and reduces waterborne illness by improving the water's quality.