As a general definition, distillation is a physical process of separating ingredients of a mixture / solution using evaporation of water and other liquids and then condensation of the created vapor. The process is based on the different boiling points of the mixture. This is a physical separation method and not a chemical reaction or a mechanical filtration method. Distillation is used to create distilled water, separation of ingredients from crude oil, air and of course distillation of fermented solutions in order to produce alcoholic beverages.
In terms of water distillation, the process produces water that has had most of the impurities of it removed; the substances that are removed from distilled water are salt from seawater, various minerals and chemicals. The distillation process of water involves the boiling of water in a designated system – usually an industrial system of some sort – and after the water becomes vapor, the steam produced is condensed to a separate storage container or tank.
The water that come out of the engines (condensation units) of air conditioning system are actually distilled water that are completely pure and have no minerals in them – and are thus not recommended for drinking purposes. Water from rains and from melting glaciers is basically naturally distilled water, but it absorbs particles, minerals and pollutants along the line.
Historical facts about water distillation
Historical records show us that mankind produced fresh water using distillation methods, mainly from seawater or other salted water sources, since around 200 AD.
Technical details about the method
In the past, water distillation took a long time and required large amounts of energy acquired using fuel, about a gallon of fuel produced a gallon of water. But a modern technological development using pressure applied to the steam from boiling water enabled the distillation of about 175 gallons of fresh water from 1 gallon of fuel.
In addition, there are attempts of developing water distillation plants that are based on solar power and the heat of the sun hitting the earth. This, In theory, should be simple and cheap.
Uses of distilled water
Distilled water is widely used by the chemical and biological industries, mainly in laboratories. When the industry needs very pure water they will use water that were produced using distillation methods – sometimes even triple distilled water.
Distilled water can be found topping off lead acid batteries for the auto industry. Also found in automotive cooling systems. Water distillation is common for closed water systems that are not for drinking purposes, mainly because the lack of minerals prevents harmful build-up in the systems.
Other common uses of water distillation is for steam irons, aquariums, diluting hard water for brewing beverages and many other various uses.
Drinking distilled water
Although drinking distillation water is common around the world, it’s not yet completely clear as to whether or not this is advisable, harmful or even if it has a neutral effect. Water distillation is an important water purification method in regions suffering from contaminated water sources – alongsue water boiling and other water purifiers.