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Early forms of distillation were batch processes using one vaporization and one condensation.
Laboratory display of distillation: 1: A source of heat 2: Still pot 3: Still head 4: Thermometer/Boiling point temperature 5: Condenser 6: Cooling water in 7: Cooling water out 8: Distillate/receiving flask 9: Vacuum/gas inlet 10: Still receiver 11: Heat control 12: Stirrer speed control 13: Stirrer/heat plate 14: Heating (Oil/sand) bath 15: Stirring means e.g.
(shown), boiling chips or mechanical stirrer 16: Cooling bath.
In either case the process exploits differences in the volatility of the mixture's components.
In industrial chemistry, distillation is a unit operation of practically universal importance, but it is a physical separation process and not a chemical reaction. For example: Work on distilling other liquids continued in early Byzantine Egypt under the Greek-Egyptian Zosimus of Panopolis.
In batch distillation, the composition of the source material, the vapors of the distilling compounds and the distillate change during the distillation.