Distillation flask

November 1, 2021

Distillation is a process in which the components of a mixture are separated , based on the incompatibility of the boiling points of the different components, for this there is the distillation flask, created by the chemist Emil Erlenmeyer in 1861, from In fact there are some flasks that usually bear his name.

As for the origin of this wonderful measuring instrument, I can mention that it arises in modern times, where the need to separate elements of the same solution is generated, giving way to the creation of the distillation flask.

Later on, other instruments arose that were based on the same concept and that were also considered flasks, however at the beginning of the centuries of our era, there were already some alchemists who created instruments very similar to those known today as flasks, although they did not resemble distillation, as it was a subject very little studied at that time.

What is a Distillation Flask?

The distillation flask is part of the so-called glassware of a physics or chemistry laboratory, it is a glass container with a flat base, with a spherical bottom, a generally elongated cylindrical neck and with a lateral arm that serves as its mouth. .

It is an instrument generally made of Pyrex, a glass that is resistant to extreme temperatures , allows the separation of liquids through the distillation process that occurs when there are different boiling points between the different components of a mixture.

The heating is presented in a uniform way thanks to the shape it has, it is made of glass of different thicknesses to withstand different temperature levels and for different uses.

What is a Distillation Flask for?

This instrument has become an indispensable tool for any laboratory or place where chemical elements are to be worked on, since many of the elements used in the mixtures that are made are volatile and can cause harm to human beings if you get to have direct contact with them.

This useful tool is widely used in all laboratories, as well as the Erlenmeyer flask and the Volumetric Flask , it mainly serves to separate the liquids of any mixture through a distillation process, this happens when the flask is heated to high temperatures and the different components of the mixture change state, from liquid to gaseous, with liquids with the lowest boiling point doing it first and then those with the highest boiling point.

How does a Distillation Flask work?

One of the first things that should be taken into account to start working with the distillation flask is to verify that all the connections are perfectly sealed in order to avoid escaping some vapors that may have some reaction with the lighter flame. and cause a combustion reaction.

To heat it, a ring must be placed on top of a universal support secured by a double nut, a metal mesh must go over the ring and then the flask, to hold it you can use a handle with which the test tubes are held.

When using it, it is necessary to be aware that the liquid that is being heated does not dry out, since there is the possibility and the risk that flammable peroxides are in the mixture , extreme care must also be taken so that it does not turn over, this can happen easily by the rounded base that it has and consequently all the liquid that is inside the flask will spill.

Uses of the Distillation Flask

In order for the flask to be used properly, it must have an excellent heat source that allows the components that are inside to be perfectly heated, so that these are distilled, then go through the arm of the lateral detachment until it reaches to the condenser.

  • The main use that is given to this tool is in distillation processes, to heat uniformly and at extremely high temperatures different substances found in chemistry or physics laboratories.
  • It is also used to replace beakers when a liquid must be constantly stirred, preventing the solution from spilling.
  • When working with chemical reactions that are generally quite violent.
  • When talking about microbiology, it is impossible not to mention the distillation flask, it is used for the preparation of culture broths , it can suffer from obstructions frequently with a hydrophobic cotton cap or plug.

In order for the distillation process to be carried out properly, the heating of the distillation flask must be completely uniform, in this way you can achieve a proper separation of the components of the mixture.

Types of Distillation Flask

When you think about buying a distillation flask for any laboratory, it may not be known exactly which model to buy, since there are various designs and with different functions, the most important thing is to determine which is the most suitable for the work to be done.

There are different types of distillation flask, of different sizes and capacities , there are from 10ml to 500ml, the glass that compose them is resistant to high temperatures and this determines its value, this being the second most important factor economically speaking.

Characteristics of a Distillation Flask

It is important to emphasize that the materials with which the instruments used for distillation are made is a glass made from silicon and boron oxides , also known as borosilicate glass, they are made without connections or joints, that is, they are manufactured in a single piece.

They have a resistance to high temperatures and a large number of effects caused by the chemical substances produced by the distillation process, they are composed of three main characteristics:

  • They are manufactured with a super resistant glass to high temperatures, their design is composed of a very thin cylinder-shaped neck of approximately 10 cm that prevents substances from spilling.
  • They have a base that has a spherical shape with which you can easily see the mixtures that you need to distill.
  • On one side it has a descending mouth that emerges from the same neck, through here the vapors come out during the distillation to a separation flask.

Due to its frustoconical shape, the loss of substances is avoided either by stirring or by evaporation. It can be covered with a frosted stopper and if it is not available, a hydrophobic cotton can also be used.

Importance of a Distillation Flask

The distillation processes that are carried out in any laboratory are used to separate liquids that have different boiling points when they are below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius, it is very important to heat the flask slowly but consistently , taking into account that the temperature has to be checked so that the liquids can be effectively separated.

It is important to have a good distillation flask in any laboratory, so that the results of the investigations are not affected and so that no type of accident occurs that could harm the physical integrity of oneself and of any person who is in it. laboratory, you must be sure that it is manufactured with quality materials and that it is perfectly designed to fulfill its purpose.

When handling it, great care must be taken, the liquid should not be allowed to dry completely since there may be flammable substances in the mixture , it is also very important to be careful not to turn over and spill the solution contained in the flask. .

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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