Distillation Lab Report

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Experiment 1 sought to separate a binary solution into two fractions and determine the identity of the components. This is accomplished through distillation which is the separation of a mixture of compounds. There are two types of distillation; simple and fractional. Simple distillation is used when separating liquids and solids or between liquids with boiling points that differ by more than 40-50°C. On the other hand, fractional distillation separates two volatile liquids in order to achieve two purified components. In the case of this experiment, fractional distillation is used as the unknown liquids were thought to have similar boiling points.
Fractional distillation utilizes a temperature gradient to ensure that the more volatile component
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Once the fractional distillation setup is complete, the stirbar in the Erlenmeyer flask containing the binary solution is turned on to ensure homogeneous boiling. As the solution starts to boil, vapor containing the more volatile component travels upward through the column until the temperature gradient becomes too cool and it condensates on the side of the distillation column. The verticality of the column provides a surface area for the vapors to condense and flow back down the column until the temperature becomes hot enough for it to vaporize again. This process of re-condensation and re-evaporation continues until the vapor becomes purely the more volatile compound. Once at the stillhead, the pure vapor meets a water-cooled condenser that cools the vapor causing it to condensate and flow into a Falcon tube receiver. The Falcon tubes are utilized due to their graduated nature which make determining the volume collected easy. While watching the volume collected in the tubes, it is important to note the temperature at the stillhead because this is equivalent to the boiling point of the compound collected. A thermometer is placed here so that the tip of the mercury head is positioned with the bottom of the condenser. The thermometer will accumulate condensation and will accurately measure the boiling point of the collected compound. After the more volatile compound is collected, the heat is increased in order to determine the boiling point of the second compound. The boiling point of the compounds is observed by a plateau in temperature

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