The New Student's Reference Work/Distillation
Distilla′tion, a process by which substances which are made into vapor at different degrees of heat are separated from each other, or those which can be made into vapor are separated from those which cannot. The usual method of distillation is by means of a covered boiler connected by a tube with a condenser. Suppose that it is wanted to separate two substances from each other, it being possible to heat one into vapor but not the other. The substance being put into the boiler and heated, that part which can be vaporized rises and passes through the tube at the top into the condenser, which is a box kept cool. The coolness of the condenser lowers the temperature of the vapor and it condenses into liquid, just as steam does on the inside of the cover of a kettle. This principle is used in preparing alcoholic liquors, the more easily vaporized parts of the fermented juice of fruits and grains being separated from the rest, in the form of alcohol, which keeps the flavor of the juice from which it is made.