Understanding Distillation as an Effective Purification Process (Part 1)

The purification of water through the process of distillation is so effective, is proven over time and is easy to demonstrate, so why is it so little understood by most people?  I think it’s simply that most people don’t take the time to understand it and it is so simple.

Here’s a simple 5-step experiment you can do at home quite easily.  All you need is a kettle, some food coloring, and a cold clean teaspoon.

  1. Put the teaspoon in the icebox of your refrigerator for 15 minutes or more.
  2. Take a kettle and put some tap water in it and put a few drops of red-food coloring in it.
  3. Boil the water and wait until steam comes out of the spout.
  4. Take the cold spoon and hold it upright but sloping down and place it in the steam coming from the kettle. Be careful not to put your hand in the steam – it will burn you.
  5. Watch the beads of water form on the bottom of the spoon.  See that they are clear and free of any food coloring. This is distilled water.

What did you just see?  You saw an example of steam-distillation that you did yourself.

How did it work?  You started with the red-colored water (liquid) and by boiling it you turned the liquid into vapor (steam), When you placed the cold spoon in the steam you condensed it back to a liquid, in this case, distilled water.

What did it show you?  In front of your eyes you purified a small amount of contaminated red water into droplets of clear colored distilled water.  There were no filters or membranes involved. Just the physical laws of nature working to purify water.

How Would you Describe the Process of Distillation:  It is a “Thermal Phase-Change  Purification Process”

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