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Organic Chemistry Laboratory – Formal Report Essay


The study is about distillation. Distillation is a process of converting a liquid to a vapor, and then, collecting the distillate in another container. This technique is used to separate components in a liquid mixture which have different boiling points, or to separate a component that is not volatile. It is one of the methods used when purifying liquids. For example, it is used to concentrate alcoholic beverages. The four distillation methods include simple distillation, fractional distillation, vacuum distillation (distillation at a reduced pressure), and steam distillation.

The objective of the study is to differentiate simple from fractional distillation, separate the components of the alcohol beverage used, and to calculate the percentage of ethanol in the beverage. Simple and fractional distillation are the methods to be used since it is the most efficient to be used in this experiment. Since the experiment worked only on the two methods, the other two methods will not be studied.


The equipment used are the condenser, boiling stones, beaker, thermometer, distilling flask, alcohol lamp, iron stand, wire gauze, iron clamp and test tubes that were calibrated. Vodka is the substance that was distilled. First, the group put up the distillation set up by assembling the instruments, heating the alcohol lamp, turning the water on and then heating the vodka which was contained in the distilling flask with the boiling stones.

Then the group waited for the first drop of the distillate and then recorded it. After heating and getting a lot of distillates, the group stopped when the temperature reached 98 degrees Celsius. The group then tested the first and the last drop of the distillate. It was tested by placing it in an evaporating dish then igniting it with a match. The first drop was proved that it contained ethanol because it was combustible. The last drop however, was inflammable.

Results and Discussions

During the experiment, the group observed that the first drop of the distillate was collected when the thermometer reached 78 degrees Celsius. This shows that the volatility of ethanol is 78 degrees Celsius. Distillates were collected every time the temperature increased by 1 or 2. The group stopped at 98 degrees Celsius because if it goes beyond that, water, with a volatility of 100 degrees Celsius, will also evaporate.


[1] Bayquen, A., Cruz, C., De Guia, R., Lampa, F., Pena, G., Sarile, A., Torres, P., (2009) Laboratory Manual in Organic Chemistry.

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