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General Principles, Applications

Distillation is one of the most important processes for separating the components of a solution. The solution is heated to form a vapor of the more volatile components A typical laboratory distillation setup. Illustration by Hans & Cassidy. Courtesy of Gale Group. in the system, and the vapor is then cooled, condensed, and collected as drops of liquid. By repeating vaporization and condensation, individual components in the solution can be recovered in a pure state. Whiskey, essences, and many pure products from the oil refinery industry are processed via distillation.

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