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How does short path distillation work?

Short path distillation (molecular distillation) is a thermal separation processes for heat sensitive products. Short residence time and low evaporation temperature will cause minimal thermal stress to the distilled product and consequently a very gentle distillation.

Why is short path distillation used?

Edwards' vacuum system

Edwards' vacuum system

Short path distillation (molecular distillation) is a thermal separation processes for heat sensitive products. Short residence time and low evaporation temperature will cause minimal thermal stress to the distilled product and consequently a very gentle distillation.

Vacuum is used in shorth path distillation to substantially decrease the boiling temperature by reducing the operating pressure. Short path distillation is a continuous separation process with a very short residence time (tens of seconds) compared to hours on other conventional separation processes such as continuous (circulation, film or distillation) or non-continuous (batch distillation) distillation processes.

Unlike other distillation techniques, short path distillation is invariably applied for the separation of the high molecular weight organic components, where the other distillation methods lead to breakdown of heat sensitive molecules at high temperatures, i.e. above 200°C respectively.

What are the applications that use short path distillation?

Short path distillation, as well as evaporation, concentration and stripping are specifically employed for heat sensitive products such as: 

PHARMACEUTICALS

FINE CHEMICALS & SPECIALITY

FLAVOUR AND FRAGRANCES

PETROCHEMICALS

PLASTICS

APIs, natural and synthetic vitamins, stabilizers

Stripping of monomers from silicone oils, resins, & polymers,

stripping isocyanates from prepolymers, stripping solvents and

oligomers form all kind of resins

Distillation of monoglycerides from di- and triglycerides,

concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids

Evaporation of oil and wax fractions from petroleum, fractionating

of waxes into hard and super hard waxes, lube oil production

Polyurethane pre-polymers, epoxy resins, acrylates, polyols,

plasticizers