The primary differences between each process are that distillation involves a process of separation, while evaporation involves changing the state of the matter. Both of these processes hold their own importance and are both used for different reasons.
Evaporation is classified as one of the natural processes, while distillation is typically initiated by outside forces (man-made). Evaporation can occur during the distillation process, but distillation cannot occur during the evaporation process.
Evaporation involves a process whereby a liquid changes into a gas. The term “evaporation” is specifically used when the vaporization of a liquid occurs from its surface. Many factors can influence evaporation processes. This includes pressure, the surface area, temperature and density of the liquid or substance, along with the concentration of any other substances that are present.
Distillation is the method that is used for physically separating compounds from specific mixtures. These processes are based upon the different boiling points of each component present in these mixtures that will be separated. When a mixture contains different components that each have its own boiling point, the water will change into either a vapor or evaporate at times that are different when they are heated. Through the distillation process, evaporation also occurs.
Difference Between Evaporation and Distillation
To understand the differences between these processes, it is important to first define each term. Distillation and evaporation vary in the way that each one actually works. Even though each process is scientific in its nature, they are different in what each is, and what each of these processes are used for. Here are the definitions of each process below:
Converting water into a state that is gaseous without placing the liquid under boiling will be defined as an evaporation process. Liquid molecules contain what is known as molecular bonds. When providing a sufficient amount of heat, the bonds start to loosen up. This results in releasing these molecules in a gaseous phase. The evaporation process occurs on the surface of the water.
In most cases, evaporation will occur before the water or liquid reaches its “boiling point”. The only intermolecular bonds that are broken are those that are the closest to the surface of the liquid. From here they convert into a gas.
Distillation, unlike evaporation which is one of the natural-occurring processes, is a modernized and man-made process. This technique involves separating the liquid forms that are the purest from any other liquids that are present in the mixture. This method is based on the different boiling points of each component present in the liquid.
Distillation is mainly used for separating mixtures or combinations of liquids. This process involves both boiling along with condensing these liquids. The process begins by heating the liquid until it reaches a boiling point. From here, the temperature remains consistent until such a stage that the “significant” liquid has completely vaporized. When this occurs, the vapor converts back into a liquid phase with the use of a condenser.
When compared to distillation, evaporation is a process which occurs at a far slower pace. The evaporation processes will mainly depend on the airflow rate and the overall surface area associated with the liquid.