Could someone please explain fractional distillation? I find it really confusing to understand.
What specific questions do you have when reading introductory articles like the one at Wikipedia? Is it the function of the column that is confusing?Could someone please explain fractional distillation? I find it really confusing to understand.
It says that there is a temperature gradient in the fractional column. So the component with higher boiling point condenses before the one with a lower boiling point as it rises up the column. This condensation and vapourization occur and gradually they are separated.What specific questions do you have when reading introductory articles like the one at Wikipedia? Is it the function of the column that is confusing?
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The basic source of movement is the boiling in the flask. When liquids are vaporized they expand greatly, so there is a net flow away from the flask. The distillation process is a selection of which molecules travel farthest in a decreasing temperature environment to get out to the condenser. Some will condense back to liquid in the column and fall back into the flask. Note that if the temperature at the top of the column is cold enough that everything re-condenses, then there will be no net flow out to the condenser.But how does it reach the top i.e, the condenser?
Nah!This works like an old "single pipe" steam radiator in a house. The condensation pulls vapor that is pushed by the boiler. The vapor necessarily comes from the cooler top of the distillation column (which will gradually get hotter as the batch is fractionally evaporated)