- Steam distillation
Steam distillation is a special type of
distillation(a separation process) for "temperature sensitive" materials like natural aromatic compounds.
organic compounds tend to decompose at high sustained temperatures. Separation by normal distillation would then not be an option, so water or steamis introduced into the distillation apparatus. By adding water or steam, the boiling points of the compounds are depressed, allowing them to evaporate at lower temperatures, preferably below the temperatures at which the deterioration of the material becomes appreciable. If the substances to be distilled are very sensitive to heat, steam distillation can also be combined with vacuum distillation. After distillation the vapors are condensed as usual, usually yielding a two-phase system of water and the organic compounds, allowing for simple separation.
Principle [Martin's Physical Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical sciences, fifth edition, ISBN- 0-7817-6426-2, Lippincott williams & wilkins]
When a mixture of two practically immiscible liquids is heated while being agitated to expose the surfaces of both the liquids to the vapor phase, each constituent independently exerts its own
vapor pressureas a function of temperature as if the other constituent were not present. Consequently, the vapor pressure of the whole system increases. Boiling begins when the sum of the partial pressures of the two immiscible liquids just exceeds the atmospheric pressure(approximately 101 kPa at sea level). In this way, many organic compounds insoluble in water can be purified at a temperature well below the point at which decomposition occurs. For example, the boiling point of bromobenzeneis 156 °C and the boiling point of water is 100 °C, but a mixture of the two boils at 95 °C. Thus, bromobenzene can be easily distilled at a temperature 61 C° below its normal boiling point.
Steam distillation is employed in the manufacture of
essential oils, for instance, perfumes. In this method, steam is passed through the plant material containing the desired oils. It is also employed in the synthetic procedures of complex organic compounds. Eucalyptus oiland orange oilare obtained by this method on the industrial scale.
Steam distillation is also widely used in petroleum refineries and
petrochemicalplants where it is commonly referred to as "steam stripping". [Beychok, M.R., "The Design of Sour Water Strippers", Individual Paper 61, Proceedings of Seventh World Petroleum Congress, Mexico City, April 1967] cite book|author=Kister, Henry Z.|title= Distillation Design|edition=1st Edition |publisher=McGraw-Hill|year=1992|id=ISBN 0-07-034909-6] [ [http://www.ap.urscorp.com/caltex_see_kurnell/pdf/Figures/FIG14_02.PDF Sour Water Steam Stripper Schematic Diagram] ]
Other industrial uses of steam distillation include the production of consumer food products such as sprayable or aerosolized condiments such as sprayable mayonnaise. [Purves, ER. (1972), "Method for producing mayonnaise". U.S. Patent No. 3,804,957. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.]
Steam distillation was invented by the Persian chemist, Ibn Sina (known as "Avicenna" in the West), in the early 11th century. He invented it for the purpose of extracting
essential oils, which is used in aromatherapyand the drinkingand perfumery industries.Marlene Ericksen (2000), "Healing with Aromatherapy", p. 9, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0658003828]
The invention of steam distillation contributed significantly to the development of
perfumery, in perfecting the extraction of fragrances. The steam distillation technology significantly influenced Western perfumery and scientific developments, particularly chemistry.
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