What is Short Path Distillation?

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Short Path Distillation

The short path distillation process and its counterpart, the short path wiped distillation process, are popular distillation methods that produce better flavor in their products. Both processes achieve similar results through different means. Short path distillation is the process of separating mixtures, depending on their volatility differences, in a mixture of boiling liquid under condensed pressure. As the mixture receives heat, its vapors rise into a vertical condenser where water is used to cool them down. This technique is commonly applied with compounds that become unstable at higher temperatures.

For many years now, experts have been using distillation to separate liquid solution components through exceptionally selective heating and cooling. To achieve this, a short path distillation system is applied to put under control the divergent properties of the fluid compartments in the mixture. The mixtures will then separate through boiling, evaporation, and condensation.

The methodology may have numerous applications, but conventionally it’s used to raise the alcohol content in beverages as well as water purification for human consumption. Short path distillation is a compressed purification technique more suitable for lab applications where it is essential to maintain minimal instrumentation footprint. This low-pressure technique uses relatively short extraction feeds and several flasks to put apart condensate media across paths with only a few centimeters.

While the other conventional methods need larger apparatus to achieve the needed purity levels for specific application requirements, short path distillation only needs multiple components and a small working area to yield up to 99% distillate purity levels.

How Short Path Distillation Works

Typically, the term acquires its name given the short distance the distillate covers in the short path distillation equipment. It travels just a few centimeters. A vacuum is used on the setup allowing the distillate to flow from one flask to the next, and in the process, the sample is separated and purified.

Below is a summary of the steps involved.

  • A liquid solution is suspended in evaporating glassware or a flask that connects through a short feed to a chilling unit or condenser.

  • The evaporating glassware is then put in a heating mantle. Here, the solution’s temperature rises to set boiling points, allowing distinct compartments of the solution in question to evaporate.

  • Vapors are now drawn into the condensing unit via the feed under vacuum conditions. This is where the separated gas phase layer of the liquid solution cools and converts to a liquid state.

  • The distillate material is put in different glassware depending on their weight. This enables chemists to merge several required elements from one sample.

Short Path Distillation graphic

Benefits of Short Path Distillation

  1. Due to the continuous feed, producers can consistently make large quantities of products.This paves the way to greater scalability.

  2. The short path distillation system has a compact design, which makes it ideal for the extraction of bigger quantities of multiple strains.

  3. Most importantly, the short path distillation equipment is highly automated and easy to use.

At Hydrion Scientific Instrument LLC, we provide a wide range of lab instruments for many application requirements. Contact us to buy Short Path Distillation equipment for your production requirements. We also give advice on equipment selection, on-site and online technical support, and free equipment testing. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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