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Distillation on a scale ranging from research quantities as small as ten milligrams to multikilogram lots is commonly encountered in the laboratory. Based upon the physical and chemical properties of the substance to be isolated, in addition to those of the attendant impurities and the quantity of impure product to be distilled, a technique can often be chosen which will result in a product of adequate purity in one operation. It may be said that planning a synthesis should include consideration of the difficulty one may encounter in separation of the mixture of products resulting therefrom; on the bench several alternate routes to the desired product may be available, and the resultant mixtures will differ in ease of separation. Since the quantities are not large, more expensive reagents may be chosen, if desirable, than would be acceptable in a manufacturing process. A major saving in time and effort can often be thus effected.

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Luyben WL (1992) Practical Distillation Control. Van Nostrand Reinhold.

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Shinskey FG (1984) Distillation Control for Productivity and Energy Conservation, 2nd edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Tolliver TL and Waggoner RC (1980) Distillation column control: a review and prespective from the CPI. Instrument Society of America, 35: 83-106.

Resort is commonly had to three broad classes of distillation, steam distillation, flash or simple distillation, and fractional distillation. The first, finding use in separation of substances volatile with steam from those which are not steam-volatile, often uses the basic equipment of simple distillation described below, with steam being sparged into the distilland; either the product is collected as part of the condensate of the residual distilland is enriched in the desired product by removal of steam-volatile impurities. This technique, when applicable can be a powerful and convenient method requiring less skill and attention than fractional distillation.

Simple, or flash, distillation is in general used to separate individual compounds from mixtures consisting of substances whose boiling points differ by at least 40°C, and mixtures of volatile and nonvolatile components. The method consists of simply boiling the mixture in a vessel equipped with a device, commonly referred to as a 'head' which conducts the vapour to a condenser wherefrom the resultant liquid is collected. The head is usually equipped with a means by which the vapour temperature may be

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