Alcohol Distillation process step by step
Required items: A distillation apparatus having two beakers, one for putting in mixture and the other for the condensation mechanism, and a heating source.
- Take a distillation apparatus and pour the mixture in it. Make sure the distillation apparatus is clean.
- Start heating the mixture with the Bunsen burner flame
- Keep heating the mixture until it boils.
- Alcohol has B.P of 78.5C and water having a B.P of 100C, so we get vapors of the alcohol first.
- Alcohol vapors are condensed back to liquid by condensation mechanism.
Can we get 100% pure alcohol from the above process?
The quick answer to this question is no. The distillation process explained above is called "simple distillation." It gives you satisfactory results when the mixture contains only two liquids, having boiling point differences of great margin. But it doesn’t mean that it will give you 100% results for two liquids. When the mixture is initially heated we get vapors of alcohol first with almost no contents of water, but as process goes on the temperature of mixture rises causes the water molecule also to evaporate.
Is there any way to get almost 100% results?
The answer here is yes. A process called "fractional distillation" can give very pure output. In fractional distillation, the process of evaporation and condensation is repeated till the final output (alcohol) becomes free of all undesirable contents. The process is a bit complicated from simple distillation, and one may need sophisticated equipment to carry out this process.
How to measure the purity of distilled Alcohol?
This is very simple, recall the basic formula of chemistry:
Density = Mass/Volume
We know the density (tabulated value) of pure alcohol. Feed the value of mass (Alcohol extracted during distillation process) and its volume into the above formula. Compare the result (Density) with the tabulated one.
Sarton, George (1975). Introduction to the history of science. R. E. Krieger Pub. Co.. p. 145.
Holmyard, Eric John (1990). Alchemy. Courier Dover Publications. p. 53.
Chen, Zachary. "Modern Distillation". Alcohol Aficionado: Spirits Ratings, Reviews, & History