Short path distillation is a process that is primarily implemented to make the distillation of heavier molecules faster and more efficient. Also commonly referred to as fractional distillation, short path distillation is a relatively simple method of separating materials from various compounds based on differences in their volatiles through low-pressure evaporation.

The process gets its name because the materials being distilled only travel a short distance throughout the apparatus—typically just a few centimeters. Common materials that are extracted through short path distillation include fragrances, fatty acids, fuels, polyurethane, and oils such as CBD oil. Below, we will address how this widely implemented process works.

How Short Path Distillation Works

Rather than implementing a solvent to help extract the distillate from the material, short path distillation facilitates extraction by taking advantage of the melting points of the material. This process begins by putting the extraction material in a feed vessel, where it is then sent into a heated flask. The heat of the flask and the extract material inside will gradually increase to facilitate evaporation.

In addition to the heat, a vacuum is also created inside the flask, which decreases the atmospheric pressure inside the system and, as a result, reduces the boiling point of the evaporation material. For this reason, short path distillation makes distilling heavier molecules faster and more efficient. In addition, the vacuum also helps speed up the evaporation process by drawing the vapors up into the fractionating tubing. These columns allow the mixed vapors to cool, condense, and re-vaporize. In doing so, they help effectively separate the mixture, as each condensation-vaporization cycle enriches the vapors in a certain component.

After leaving the fractionating tubing, the material enters the condensing tube that, as its name suggests, condenses the vapors. This tube is located close to the heated flask, which means the extract only has to travel a short distance, thus reducing the amount of distillate that is lost throughout the apparatus.

Upon condensing, the fractions will take separate paths and end up in different collection flasks based on their weight. For optimum separation and product refinement, the extract material can run through a short path distillation apparatus multiple times.

Short Path Distillation Kit



  • Heating mantle with magnetic stirring function, available in 110V or 220V.
  • High quality and heavy duty Borosilicate 3.3 glass for durability.
  • Vacuum-jacketed distillation adapter, with 3-6 vigreux stages.
  • Flexible choice of vacuum pumps and heater/chillers.
  • Detachable plastic 3/8”(10mm) hose barbs for maximized safety during operation.
  • GCT-01 cold trap protects the vacuum pump from contamination and damage of vapors.

Technical Specifications

Material                                           G3.3
Heating Capacity(ml)2000500010002000
Heating temperature(℃)                          Room temperature -250
Accuracy(℃)                                          ±1
Vaccuum Degree(Mpa)                                       0.098
Working temperature(℃)                                        5-40
Voltage                       220V/50Hz 110V/60Hz380V/50Hz
Package Size450*450*600580*580*735850*850*600

Advantages of Short Path Distillation

There are many benefits of the short path distillation process that make it a highly advantageous option for a variety of different uses and applications. Some of the most notable benefits of this process include:

  • Compact Size: Short path distillation is a compact purification method. Because it does not take up much space, it is highly advantageous for laboratory applications in which a minimal instrumentation footprint is necessary.
  • Easy To Use: Another key benefit of short path distillation is that it is relatively easy to implement. While the majority of conventional distillation methods rely on large, complex apparatuses, short path distillation requires more compact, simple equipment that is still able to achieve high distillate purity levels.
  • Reduced Waste: As previously stated, the compound in a short path distillation apparatus only needs to travel a distance of a few centimeters from the heated flask to the condenser tube. As a result, a minimal amount of the compound is lost on the sides of the equipment. Thus, short path distillation can help reduce waste and is highly advantageous for situations in which an expensive compound needs to be distilled.
  • Ideal for Compounds That Are Unstable at Higher Temperatures: Because short path distillation uses vacuum pressure to reduce the boiling point of the compounds inside the apparatus, the process can be completed at a lower temperature. For this reason, short path distillation is an ideal option for distilling compounds that are unstable at higher temperatures.
  • Distilling Small Quantities of Compound: In addition to distilling compounds that are unstable at higher temperatures, short path distillation is also advantageous for applications that require small quantities of a compound to be distilled. Because the liquid compound travels across a shorter surface area, less compound is lost on the equipment. Thus, smaller quantities can effectively be distilled without losing a large percentage of the product along the way.
  • Faster Completion Time: Many conventional evaporation apparatuses can take several hours to complete a separation. Short path distillation, on the other hand, can complete a separation in a matter of seconds due to the pressure vacuum it implements, which helps greatly speed up the process.

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