Let's say I have a solution that is made up of substances that have very similar boiling points, say less than 5 degrees apart. Is it even possible to fractionally distill those substances, say, using a vacuum still?

Which method is more precise, heating the solution and swapping out condensation vessels as the temperature increases, or having a column with the ability to fractionate in stages?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, possible. Very good column's needed though. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Nov 16 '17 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ What factors contribute to s good column $\endgroup$ – user379468 Nov 16 '17 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ You have a SOLUTION not a compound $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Nov 16 '17 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ If the chemicals form an azeotrope, even with a wide separation of b.p. (e.g. ethanol + water), then it may not be feasible to separate by distillation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azeotrope $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Nov 17 '17 at 0:42
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    $\begingroup$ Yes... for example, whatever proportion of ethanol and water a solution contains to start, as it boils down it tends to ~95.5% ethanol. Azeotropes can be separated using a third chemical to entrain one of the ingredients, but not through distillation alone. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Nov 17 '17 at 2:05

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