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fractional distillation

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noun Chemistry.
  1. the separation of volatile components of different boiling points in a mixture by the gradual increase of temperature and the separate collection of each component.
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Origin of fractional distillation

First recorded in 1855–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for fractional distillation

fractional distillation

noun
  1. the process of separating the constituents of a liquid mixture by heating it and condensing separately the components according to their different boiling points
  2. a distillation in which the vapour is brought into contact with a countercurrent of condensed liquid to increase the purity of the final products
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Sometimes shortened to: distillation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

fractional distillation in Science

fractional distillation

  1. A process by which a chemical compound is separated into components by distillation. In fractional distillation the compound is heated and, as each of its constituent components comes to a boil, its vapors are separated and cooled, so it can be removed in its pure form. Fractional distillation is used to refine petroleum. See also distillation.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.