Separating the solvent from a solution – simple distillation

Simple distillation is a method for separating the solvent from a solution. For example, water can be separated from salt solution by simple distillation. This method works because water has a much lower boiling point than salt. When the solution is heated, the water evaporates. It is then cooled and condensed into a separate container. The salt does not evaporate and so it stays behind.

Salty water is heated

Salt solution is heated.

Every pure substance has its own particular melting point and boiling point. One way to check the purity of the separated liquid is to measure its boiling point. For example, pure water boils at 100°C. If it contains any dissolved solids, its boiling point will be higher than this.