For centuries, distillation has been used to separate the components of liquid solutions through extremely selective heating and cooling. Numerous instruments are used to control the differing thermodynamic properties of the fluidic compartments within a solution, stimulating mixtures to separate through boiling, evaporation, and condensation.

This methodology has a wide range of applications but is conventionally related to increasing the alcohol content of fermented beverages and sanitizing water sources for safe human consumption.

What is short path distillation?

In industrial and chemical fields, people always need to extract some solvents or purify some substances. There are several ways to achieve those and short path distillation is one of them. Short path distillation is a technique that removes solvents from mixtures through evaporation. Short path distillation is mainly used for liquid-liquid separation.

The working process of short path distillation

Short path distillation runs according to the boiling point differences of solvents. The main process of short path distillation is to evaporate extracted solvents into gas-phase and then cool it down into liquid-phase for users easy to collect.

Firstly, the sample mixture will be placed in the evaporation flask. And heating mantle will heat it in order to make extracted solvents get evaporated.

Secondly, the gas-phase solvents will be transferred along the short distance. During gas-phase solvents being transferred, it will be cooled down and be turned into liquid-phase.

Thirdly, the function of turning gas-phase solvents into liquid-phase solvents is to make it easier to be collected. The liquid-phase extracted solvents will be transferred into receiving flask and users will take it down.

In the whole working process of short path distillation, there will always be vacuum pump providing vacuum for the whole equipment and chiller cooling the equipment down to offer a good reacting environment.

Advantages of short-path distillation

  • Better for temperature-sensitive compounds: The use of a vacuum reduces pressure, so the distilling temperature used for short-path distillation can be much lower than the compound’s boiling temperature. Short-path distillation doesn’t require you to subject compounds to high temperatures for long durations, which are typically necessary when distilling at standard pressure. Since the process can take place at lower temperatures, this method is especially beneficial for compounds that become unstable at high temperatures or have a high boiling point.
  • Prevents wasted compound: Short-path distillation only requires a liquid to travel a short distance, so less compound is lost in the equipment. It’s a more-efficient method that reduces material waste.
  • Good for purifying small amounts of compound: Short-path distillation is the ideal method to distill small quantities. This is because the liquid travels across a shorter surface area and less compound is retained on the equipment.
  • Ease of use: One of the main advantages of short-path distillation is its ease of use. Most conventional distillation techniques require large apparatuses to reach their desired purity levels. The apparatus used for short-path distillation, however, can achieve high distillate purity levels without the need for bulky, cumbersome equipment. The method is ideal for those with smaller working spaces.
  • Quick heating process: While other conventional evaporation apparatuses typically take hours to complete a separation, short-path distillation may only take a few seconds.

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