Distillation is a method used to separate liquids into different fractions that have different boiling points or to separate liquids from dissolved solids. It may be used to identify the materials in a compound and also to purify that compound. There are many commercial and environmental applications for distillation, from distilling crude oil into different petroleum products to creating potable water from seawater by removing the salt. The simplest methods of distillation require minimal technology; distillation has been used to separate and purify liquids for over 2,000 years. Distillation also occurs as a natural process and has been used to explain the high concentration of certain pollutants in areas in which they have never been used.

The distillation process is possible because different materials have ...

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