Different Ways of Distilling Water

The distillation of water is a process that has gone on for centuries, and is one which is most closely associated with the desalination of water. The process of distilling water will remove most impurities and minerals, in the case of sea water it removes the salt, leaving behind a “pure” water.

Today distilled water is typically used where the corrosive impact of tap water would cause damage, but is still also drunk. Impure water can contain many different minerals, whilst water from a river or lake may contain many different bacteria.

There is though no great secret about to go about making distilled water as the process is a simple one.

The first thing to do is find a container that can be heated, a heat source and some water. These elements make up the still. The water in the container then needs to be boiled.

As the water boils, steam is produced, and this form of water evaporation then needs to be collected. Ideally the steam would be collected in a series of tubes that runs off into a clean container, but any angled object situated above the boiling water can be used. As the water enters the tubes, or hits an object above the boiling, it will start to cool, becoming liquid once again. It will though be a liquid clear of most impurities.

Some care needs to be taken during the boiling process, not least because of the heat involved. For continued supply of water, the water needs to be kept at boiling point. If the heat gets too high though, the evaporated liquid could include minerals which have also evaporated.

There are many different options of how to go about distilling water, even if the process is basically the same. In the kitchen distilled water might be made from a kettle of boiling water, a funnel to collect the steam, and a tube to run the steam off to a container. In the outdoors it might be a camp fire, a metal tin, and piece of metal angled above the tin.

Even in a survival situation the distillation of water can still be achieved, most commonly through the use of a solar still. With a solar still the heat of the sun and the ground (the heat source) heats up water moisture from the materials found in a hole in the ground (the water source) which then evaporates. Over the hole is a plastic sheet which is weighted down in the centre. The evaporating water hits the sheet and condenses to be collected in a container beneath the weight.

An alternative method of distilling water makes use of flash evaporation, and even then the process is similar, although it makes use of changing pressure, as well as heat to distil.

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