Distillation is defined as:
A process in which a liquid or vapor mixture of two or more substances is separated into its component fractions of desired purity, by the application and removal of heat.
Distillation is based on the fact that the vapour of a boiling mixture will be richer in the components that have lower boiling points.
Therefore, when this vapour is cooled and condensed, the condensate will contain more volatile components. At the same time, the original mixture will contain more of the less volatile material.
Distillation columns are designed to achieve this separation efficiently.
Although many people have a fair idea what “distillation” means, the important aspects that seem to be missed from the manufacturing point of view are that:
The best way to reduce operating costs of existing units, is to improve their efficiency and operation via process optimisation and control. To achieve this improvement, a thorough understanding of distillation principles and how distillation systems are designed is essential.