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5.5A: Overview of Steam Distillation

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  • Steam distillation is analogous to simple distillation, the main difference being that steam (or water) is used in the distilling flask along with the material to be distilled. Experimentally the setups are arranged more or less the same (Figure 5.56), with small differences being how the steam is added to the flask: either indirectly if a steam line is available in the building, or directly by boiling water in the flask.

     Steam distillation setup with Claisen adapter. Mint leaves are visible in the distillation flask.
    Figure 5.56: Steam distillation of mint.


    • Lisa Nichols (Butte Community College). Organic Chemistry Laboratory Techniques is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Complete text is available online.

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