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Distillation Definition

Distillation purifies liquid by boiling into gas, then cooling into liquid. For example, separating water from a mixture.

View Lesson on Water Cycle (3-5 Version)
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Water Cycle (3-5 Version)

Fun Facts

  • Water becomes cleaner when it evaporates, leaving particles behind.
  • Grass and dirt do not evaporate during the distillation process.
  • During distillation, vapor cools and becomes liquid again in a collection tube.

Why Do We Need To Know About Distillation

Learning about distillation helps us understand how many things in our daily life work and why it’s important in different jobs. For example, distillation helps explain how drinking water can be purified. You can distill water yourself in a solar bowl.

This idea is also used in studying the environment and weather, and understand the water cycle. Knowing about distillation is useful for people working in these areas and helps us know why things happen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we know there is water vapor in the air?
Some evidence that there is water vapor in the air include clouds, feeling moisture on our skin on a humid day, and seeing droplets form on the outside surface of cold drinks (condensation).
What causes water to change from a vapor to a liquid, or a liquid to a solid?
Water changes form in response to changing temperatures. When the temperature becomes colder, water vapor becomes liquid water. When the temperature becomes warmer, liquid water becomes water vapor.
Does water become cleaner when it evaporates into a water vapor? Why or Why not?
Yes, generally, water becomes cleaner when it evaporates. Particles in water typically do not evaporate into vapor when water does, so particles are left behind when water vapor rises.
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