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Simple Distillation

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A series of free IGCSE Chemistry Activities and Experiments (Cambridge IGCSE Chemistry).

Simple distillation is a separation technique used to separate the solvent from a solution.

In this experiment, we will use simple distillation to separate ink and water.

Method 1:
1. Pour the ink water into the conical flask.
2. Add a few anti-bumping granules to the conical flask.
3. Set up the conical flask, test tube and the other apparatus.
4. Heat the conical flask gently. Watch the ink as it starts to boil. Condensation will form in the delivery tube and, as it cools, turn into liquid. The liquid will trickle down the delivery tube and into the test tube.
5. Wait for the liquid to boil off, leaving the solid ink sediment at the bottom of the round bottomed flask. You will now have separated the ink from the water.
5. Remove the test tube and add some anhydrous copper(ii) sulfate to the distillate using a spatula. Note the colour change from white to blue to indicate that the solution is water.

Method 2: use a water-cooled condenser (Liebig condenser)
Use a Liebig condenser to make the process more efficient. This is a piece of equipment that attaches to the delivery tube. Cold water runs through the condenser, cooling the water vapor more quickly than it would at room temperature.

1. Pour the ink water into the flask.
2. Add a few anti-bumping granules to the flask.
3. Set up the flask, the water-cooled condenser, and the other apparatus.
4. Heat the flask and wait for the steam to go through the water-cooled condenser and condenses in the final round bottom flask.
1. What process is taking place in
a) the flask containing the ink water?
b) the Liebig condenser?
2. Explain why this process works for separating ink and water.

  • Show Solutions
    1. a) evaporation b) condensation
    2. We use simple distillation to remove the solvent (which is the water) from the ink solution.

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