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Separating the Components of a Mixture - Separate a Mixture of Two Miscible Liquids

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Separation of two miscible liquids by distillation: 

This method is called distillation. It is used for the separation of components of a mixture containing two miscible liquids that boil without decomposition and have sufficient difference in their boiling points.

Fractional distillation 

To separate a mixture of two or more miscible liquids for which the difference in boiling points is less than 25 K, fractional distillation process is used, for example, for the separation of different gases from air, different factions from petroleum products etc. The apparatus is similar to that for simple distillation, except that a fractionating column is fitted in between the distillation flask and the condenser.

Ex. Alcohol and water are miscible liquids. The boiling point of alcohol is 78ºC and the boiling point of water is 100ºC. Since the boiling points of alcohol and water different, therefore, a mixture of alcohol and water can be separated by fractional distillation. The mixture of alcohol and water is heated in a distillation flask fitted with a fractionating column. When the mixture is heated, both alcohol and water form vapours as their boiling points approach. The alcohol vapour and water vapour rise up in the fractionating column. The upper part of the fractionating column is cooler, so as the hot vapours rise up in the column, they get cooled, condense and trickle back into the distillation flask.

The more volatile liquid distils over first, and the less volatile liquid distils over later. A mixture of alcohol and water can be separated by fractional distillation.

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