Why does the long length of the fractionating column in fractional distillation enable more effective separation of two liquids in a mixture?

(basically what's the purpose of the fractionating column being long in relation to the effectiveness of the fractional distillation process)


1 Answer 1


It simply spreads the temperature change over a longer distance, enabling separation of distillates with boiling points close to each other. "Generally the component parts boil at less than 25 °C from each other under a pressure of one atmosphere."

Imaging reading a mercury thermometer one cm tall as compared with one 100 cm tall: it would be difficult to distinguish temperatures on the smaller one. In the fractionation column below, it helps keep the outputs separate.

Fractionation Column


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