There are four types of distillation processes; find the one that suits your needs and record or memorize the operation.

Class 1: Simple distillation. Separating liquids that boil below 150°C at one atmosphere (1 atm) from non-volatile impurities or another liquid boiling at least 25 °C higher than the first liquid. Note: the liquids to be distilled must be mixable with each other. If they are not then they would form separable layers, which you separate much more easily with a separatory funnel.

Class 2: Vacuum distillation. Separating liquids that boil above 150°C at 1 atm from nonvolatile impurities or another volatile liquid that boils at least 25°C higher than the first liquid. Boiling points can be found in the Merck Index.

Class 3: Fractional distillation. Separating mixable liquid mixtures that boil at less than 25°C from each other at 1 atm.

Class 4: Steam distillations. Separating or isolating tars, oils, and other liquid compounds insoluble or slightly soluble, in water at all temperatures. These compounds do not have to be liquids at room temperature.

Now that you know which class you need, I will discuss each one in great detail, but remember, you should know how to do a Class 1 distillation before attempting a Class 2, and so forth.

Continue reading here: Class 1 Simple Distillation Rules

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