What is Water Distillation and How Does It Work?

Water distillation is a water treatment method whose purpose is to purify water in an effective, fast, and inexpensive way. For simple distillation only two things are needed: a condenser and a heat source.

Water has a lower boiling point than the minerals and contaminants within it, so if you boil untreated water, the water will turn into a vapor and leave everything else behind (namely the solid contaminants within that water). The general concept is to purify water through distillation. The main purpose of distillation in an industrial setting is to treat wastewater created by various industries.

Definition of Distillation

Distillation is a method used to separate a liquid mixture based on the different conditions required to change the phase (solid, liquid, gas) of the various components within this liquid mixture. By heating the liquid to a boiling point, you force certain components of the mixture into a gas phase. As it cools, the gas gets condensed back into a liquid form and collected. If you repeat the process on the collected liquid to improve the purity of the product, it’s considered double distillation. A plant that performs distillation is called a distillery. The apparatus used to perform distillation is commonly known as a still.

History of water distillation

The process of distillation dates as far back as 200 AD. The original water distillation process was used to distill seawater into fresh water. When saltwater gets heated, it evaporates with minerals and salt left behind.

The process of distilling seawater is tedious and slow. It was revolutionized during World War II when the Kleinschmidt Still was invented. Today, seawater is distilled through a flash-type evaporator, making it an efficient and fast way to get clean, distilled water to more people.

Uses of Distillation

Distillation is useful in many commercial processes like kerosene, paraffin, alcohol, xylene, distilled water, gasoline, and other liquids. Gas may be separated and liquefied (for example, argon, oxygen, nitrogen, and air).

How Water Distillation Works

Water distillation is a water purification process that uses a heat source to vaporize and separate the water from contaminants. Sometimes the undesirable elements are found naturally in surface or groundwater. And sometimes the undesirable elements are a result of industrial and manufacturing processes.

Distillation heats untreated water until the water reaches a low boiling point and begins to vaporize. The water temperature is held steady to maintain the water vaporization while stopping other elements from vaporizing too. The process also helps to separate the water molecules from any microscopic disease-causing organisms.

Once the water is vaporized, the vapor is then funneled into a condenser. After removing it from the heat source, the water cools and reverts to its liquid form, and flows into a receiving container.

What filters out during distillation?

Water distillation can help to reduce the level of biological contaminants, metals, and sediment within the water. These materials are unable to travel out of the boiling chamber with the steam. Water distillation units, when combined with activated carbon filtration, can be used to treat contaminants like:

  • Radon
  • Radium
  • Nitrate
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Fluoride
  • Benzene
  • Asbestos
  • Arsenic

Distillation is an effective way to provide clean water for both commercial and household use. It gives water clarity that is up to 98% free of impurities.

Sterile treatment of industrial wastewater

A vacuum distillation system offers many advantages for the treatment of industrial wastewater. In addition to drastically reducing disposal and operating costs, it also curbs bacterial growth significantly. If the wastewater is contaminated, the treatment process can help to serve as a technical barrier against the recirculation and proliferation of the contaminated water.

The thermal separation process can serve this function during vacuum distillation. The main goal is to separate the impurities from the clean water.

Another crucial factor is the subsequent storage of sterilized distillate. Many tools help to prevent bacterial growth at this stage, including the use of biocides in the distillate storage tanks.

How CWE helps?

With advanced wastewater treatment technologies for the industrial marketplace, we make sure that wastewater is usable and potable again. It allows us to help businesses meet regulatory compliance while also treating wastewater in an environmentally responsible way.

At Clean Water Environmental, we apply innovation, technological prowess, and long-term expertise to meet all your needs related to wastewater treatment. In our wastewater management and treatment services, we treat non-hazardous and hazardous wastewaters.

We have expertise in treating various kinds of wastewater from manufacturing facilities, landfills, refineries, and chemical plants. We can help you attain your goals of a clean environment by treating your wastewater efficiently through water distillation and other effective processes and cutting-edge technological systems.

To learn more about our various capabilities in treating wastewater, including breaking water from organics, dissolved air flotation, thermal evaporation/distillation, chemical batched treatment, and membrane treatment systems, check this infographic below.

water treatment processes

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