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sir,What is meant by theory of steam distillation?

Asked by 9th August 2012, 10:11 AM
Answered by Expert

If the sample that has to be distilled is only slightly soluble in water and may decompose at its boiling point and experience violent bumping with a vacuum distillation, it is better to steam distill. Mixtures of oils and tars do not dissolve well in water; thus, they can be steam distilled.

Heating the compound in the presence of steam makes the compound boil at a lower temperature. This has to do with partial pressures of water and organic oil.

A helpful relationship when considering steam distillation in a theoretical sense is the ideal gas law, PV = nRT, where P = pressure, V = volume, n = moles, R = the gas constant and T = temperature. It is important to remember that all of these parameters refer to gaseous molecules. Since distillation involves the expansion of a liquid into a gas in a fixed volume (the still), the gas law can be useful in predicting the amount of water needed to complete a steam distillation or to figure out the proportion in which the organic and aqueous layers will co-distill. To gain a more practical expression, take the ratio of a gas law written for the gaseous water and one written for the organic gas. If this is done, one obtains the following expression.

Answered by Expert 9th August 2012, 10:24 AM
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