Distillation and Sublimation

Distillation and Sublimation

The process of heating a liquid and turning it into gas is called evaporation or vaporization. When water from a hot tea is converted to vapors, that is an example of vaporization. 

Again, if we cool that vapor, the vapor turns into liquid. This process is called condensation. For example, water vapor emits heat and turns into water, which is condensation. The process of heating a liquid into vapor and then retrieving the liquid from the vapor by cooling it is called distillation.

That means, Distillation = Vaporization + Condensation

The process in which heating a solid directly turns that solid into a gaseous substance instead of a liquid is called sublimation.

Ammonium Chloride (NH4Cl), Camphor (C10H16O), Naphthalene (C10H8), Solid Carbon-dioxide (CO2), Iodine (I2) Aluminium Chloride (AlCl3), etc. are matters that do not turn liquid if heat is applied. Instead, they vaporize. These substances are called sublimated substances.


Take some solid aluminum chloride salt in a beaker. Put a glass lid on its open face. Put some ice cubes on the lid. Now, apply heat slowly to the beaker. You'll see the solid AlClis turning into a gaseous form absorbing heat. This gaseous AlClagain reaches the lid and under the influence of ice, condenses itself underneath the lid.

If a sublimated substance is mixed with some solid matter, it can be retrieved by means of the sublimation process. For example, if some ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) is mixed with some edible salt (NaCl), it can be separated by the process of sublimation. If heat is continuously applied to the sublimated substance, it vaporizes. In iodized salt, iodine is a sublimated substance. If you apply heat to that salt, the iodine will be vaporized from there.

The vapor can be cooled into solid iodine. However, since the mixture of sand and glucose does not contain any sublimated substance, therefore, you cannot separate them by sublimation.

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