No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers.
The same is true for reactions. They are not perfect in the sense that we do not always get a 100% yield. The reasons for this are:
- side reactions
- excess raw material
- loss of reactants through by-product formation/charring due to their sensitivity towards operating conditions
- some of the reactants go unreacted
To solve these problems, one may use solvents. But then the product obtained would still be in a diluted state. This is why we need separation.
Various separation processes exist in an industry and depending on the applicability, one process is chosen over the rest. Some of these processes are:
- Evaporation (e.g. recovering salts from solution)
- Absorption (e.g. separation of NH3 from a mixture)
- Crystallization (e.g. purification of solid compounds)
- Distillation (e.g. separation of crude oil into fractions)
- Chromatography (e.g. analysis in the lab)
- Filtration (e.g. desalination)
- Settling (e.g. waste-water…
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