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Distillation is a traditional technique used to separate and purify liquids in the

chemistry lab and throughout industry. It uses the difference in boiling points of liquids to
separate these liquids from other substances in solution.
A liquid has a specific boiling temperature at standard pressure conditions. If there
are two liquids in a solution, the liquid with the lowest boiling point can be boiled out of
the solution without removing a significant amount of the other liquid. By vaporizing the
liquid and condensing it in another container, one can obtain a pure sample of the liquid.
Any impurities and liquids with higher boiling points remain in the original container.
Another part of this lab is boiling point determination. If a thermometer is added
to the distillation apparatus, the vapor of a boiling liquid will condense on the
thermometer bulb . Since a substance condenses at the same temperature that it boils, the
temperature at which the vapor condenses on the thermometer will be the boiling point.
The boiling point is useful in the identification of liquids, much like the melting point is
useful in identification of solids.
The mixture is heated in a stable temperature . The stable temperature as the boiling
point of the liquid to be distilled is in between 29 C to 95 C . Ethanol has a lower boiling
point than water so it evaporates first. The ethanol vapour is then cooled and condensed
inside the condenser to form a pure liquid . The thermometer shows that the boiling point
of the pure ethanol liquid is at 78.8 C. When all the ethanol has evaporated from the
solution, the temperature rises and the water starts to evaporate . The theoretical value of
the boiling point of ethanol is 78.7 C . So, the theoretical value and the actual value of the
boiling point of ethanol is quite close which has a difference of 0.1 C and give a
percentage error of 0.13% . The initial volume of ethanol in 25 ml is calculated to be 7.5
ml . Then , the volume of ethanol collected after distillation is measured to be 6 ml . So,
the percentage recovery was calculated to be only 80% . This shows that not all pure
ethanol was distilled by this distillation technique .

The possible error encountered in this distillation process is that the misplaced of
thermometer . This is where the thermometer is placed too high that will lead to low
value for boiling point . And when it is placed too low , the reading will be high . Next
error is that inadequately clamping the apparatus can be dangerous . Over clamping can
be a problem, since it can cause stress in the apparatus . The next error that might
encountered is that the water used in the condenser is not cool enough to make
condensation process to occur .
How to overcome the errors encountered is to be sure that all the mercury in the bulb
is below the sidearm of the still head . Then , make sure that the clamp is just perfectly
clamped as to be not too tight and not too loose . It is especially important to tighten the
nut which keeps the utility clamp from rotating . The next step to overcome the errors
encountered is by using cool water in the condenser so that the vapor can be condensed
and so that the vapor of the volatile compound will not lose to surrounding .