distillerydistilleddistillingdistilleriesdistillerdistillatedistilldistillersdistillatesmulti-effect distillation
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distillation apparatusalcohol stillalcohol stills
The distillation equipment at a distillery is a still.
A still is an apparatus used to distill liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor.

Oil refinery

oil refineriesrefineryoil refining
The most widely used industrial applications of continuous, steady-state fractional distillation are in petroleum refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants and natural gas processing plants.
Oil refineries are typically large, sprawling industrial complexes with extensive piping running throughout, carrying streams of fluids between large chemical processing units, such as distillation columns.


desalination plantwater desalinationdesalinization
Desalination processes are usually driven by either thermal (in the case of distillation) or electrical (e.g., photovoltaic or wind power) as the primary energy types.


fuelsenergy-richFuel type
Crude oil was distilled by Persian chemists, with clear descriptions given in Arabic handbooks such as those of Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi.


spiritsdistilled beveragespirit
These "Gandhara stills" were only capable of producing very weak liquor, as there was no efficient means of collecting the vapors at low heat.
Liquor (also hard liquor, hard alcohol, spirit, or distilled drink) is an alcoholic drink produced by distillation of grains, fruit, or vegetables that have already gone through alcoholic fermentation.


Distillation was practiced in the ancient Indian subcontinent, which is evident from baked clay retorts and receivers found at Taxila and Charsadda in modern Pakistan, dating to the early centuries of the Common Era.
In a chemistry laboratory, a retort is a device used for distillation or dry distillation of substances.

Distilled water

distilleddistillation of sea-waterwater distillation
Distilled water has been in use since at least c. 200, when Alexander of Aphrodisias described the process.
One method of removing impurities from water and other fluids is distillation.


OO 2 molecular oxygen
Both men lowered the temperature of air until it liquefied and then distilled the component gases by boiling them off one at a time and capturing them separately.


Distillation is the process of separating the components or substances from a liquid mixture by using selective boiling and condensation. Both alembics and retorts are forms of glassware with long necks pointing to the side at a downward angle to act as air-cooled condensers to condense the distillate and let it drip downward for collection.
Condensation is a crucial component of distillation, an important laboratory and industrial chemistry application.

Air separation

cryogenic distillationCryogenic Air Separationseparation of air
Such industrial fractionating towers are also used in cryogenic air separation, producing liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen, and high purity argon.
Pure gases can be separated from air by first cooling it until it liquefies, then selectively distilling the components at their various boiling temperatures.

Fractional distillation

fractionally distilledfractionationconverted into products
Fractional distillation was developed by Tadeo Alderotti in the 13th century.
It uses distillation to fractionate.

Scotch whisky

ScotchwhiskyScotch whiskey
However, the pot still is still widely used for the elaboration of some fine alcohols, such as cognac, Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, tequila, and some vodkas.
Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century.

Pot still

pot stillsstillsPot
These were called pot stills.
A pot still is a type of distillation apparatus or still used to distill alcoholic spirits such as whisky or cognac.

Hieronymus Brunschwig

Hieronymus BraunschweigHieronymus BrunschwygkKleines Destillierbuch
In 1500, German alchemist Hieronymus Braunschweig published Liber de arte destillandi (The Book of the Art of Distillation), the first book solely dedicated to the subject of distillation, followed in 1512 by a much expanded version.
He was notable for his methods of treatment of gunshot wounds and for his early work on distillation techniques.


refluxingreflux stillacid reflux
In the early 19th century, the basics of modern techniques, including pre-heating and reflux, were developed.
It is used in industrial and laboratory distillations.

Industrial gas

industrial gasesindustrialgases
To achieve the required low distillation temperatures, an Air Separation Unit (ASU) uses a refrigeration cycle that operates by means of the Joule–Thomson effect.

Aeneas Coffey

In 1830, Aeneas Coffey got a patent for improving the design even further.
Aeneas Coffey (1780–1839) was an Irish inventor and distiller.


alembic (distillation apparatus)alembicscucurbit
Both alembics and retorts are forms of glassware with long necks pointing to the side at a downward angle to act as air-cooled condensers to condense the distillate and let it drip downward for collection.
An alembic (, al-inbīq); (ambix, 'cup, beaker') is an alchemical still consisting of two vessels connected by a tube, used for distilling.

Unit operation

unit operationsoperationsprocess
In industrial chemistry, distillation is a unit operation of practically universal importance, but it is a physical separation process, not a chemical reaction.

McCabe–Thiele method

McCabe-Thiele method
The developing petroleum industry in the early 20th century provided the impetus for the development of accurate design methods, such as the McCabe–Thiele method by Ernest Thiele and the Fenske equation.
The McCabe–Thiele method is considered to be the simplest and perhaps most instructive method for the analysis of binary distillation.

John French (physician)

John FrenchFrench, John
In 1651, John French published The Art of Distillation, the first major English compendium on the practice, but it has been claimed that much of it derives from Braunschweig's work.
John French (1616–1657) was an English physician known for his contributions to chemistry (in particular, distillation) as well as for his English translations of Latin and German works.

Continuous distillation

In continuous distillation, the source materials, vapors, and distillate are kept at a constant composition by carefully replenishing the source material and removing fractions from both vapor and liquid in the system.
Continuous distillation, a form of distillation, is an ongoing separation in which a mixture is continuously (without interruption) fed into the process and separated fractions are removed continuously as output streams.

Batch distillation

batch dilatorsbatch-wise
In batch distillation, the composition of the source material, the vapors of the distilling compounds, and the distillate change during the distillation.
Batch distillation refers to the use of distillation in batches, meaning that a mixture is distilled to separate it into its component fractions before the distillation still is again charged with more mixture and the process is repeated.

Condenser (heat transfer)

Both alembics and retorts are forms of glassware with long necks pointing to the side at a downward angle to act as air-cooled condensers to condense the distillate and let it drip downward for collection.
Condensers are used in air conditioning, industrial chemical processes such as distillation, steam power plants and other heat-exchange systems.


alcoholbioethanolethyl alcohol
For example, ethyl alcohol and water form an azeotrope of 95.6% at 78.1 °C.
This process is carried out at around 35 - 40 C. Toxicity of ethanol to yeast limits the ethanol concentration obtainable by brewing; higher concentrations, therefore, are obtained by fortification or distillation.