Data and Conclusions:
The purpose of this experiment was to learn how to use distillation and gas chromatography to separate and identify different compounds from a given mixture. There are several kinds of distillation methods. However, the method that we used in this experiment was fractional distillation. This method is used when trying to separate two different volatile compounds whose boiling points differ by 40-50°C or more. If the boiling points are too close, this method will not work because the two compounds will begin evaporating at close temperatures and will condense down to the receiving flasks at relatively the same times. This will not create an ideal separation. The apparatus used for this type of distillation is longer than that of a simple distillation experiment because this kind of apparatus creates more efficient separation. This happens because the fractional distillation apparatus is longer, and allows for several simple distillations to occur within the column itself to more accurately separate liquids. The inside of the column is said to have theoretical plates, or equilibrium stages that are created by the vapor and liquid stages of a compound that create this accuracy. The column must also be insulated with cotton and aluminum to prevent any heat loss that may lead to inaccurate temperature readings or even effect the evaporation of the different compounds. When heating the stillpot, flameless heating should be used along with a magnetic stirbar. This is important to control the temperature of the mixture and keep the heat smooth and constant. Heating the mixture too fast could result in no fractionation in the column and lead to no separation. Likewise, if the mixture is heated too slowly, the vapors might now make it all the way to the condenser, and the liquid will fall back into the stillpot. If the mixture is heated correctly and constantly, the vapors should condense through a condenser and into a...
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