When components of a mixture have very similar Boiling Points, say 2 C is distillation ever a viable separation procedure at industrial scale?

Assuming one were willing to install a very tall column, say 100 theoretical plates (which with modern high efficiency structured packing can be fit within a column 15-20 m tall), would one expect distillation to work out?

The goal is to get an impurity component to approx. 0.1% starting from a 1.5% initial concentration. The rest of the mixture is the desired product & the BP difference between the two is only 2 C.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Isn't that exactly what columns are for? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Jun 29 '16 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin Well, typically, at least in industrial scale I see columns that fractionate components that are as close as (say) 20 C, 15 C or even 10 C apart. But I haven't seen a process where a column was used to seperate components 2 C apart. Hence the self-doubt. I want opinions about what others have done or seen being successfully practiced. $\endgroup$ – curious_cat Jun 29 '16 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ Just take a long enough column. You can separate H2O and D2O via distillation. $\endgroup$ – Karl Jun 29 '16 at 11:49

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