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Which of the following separation processes is most likely to yield high quality ethanol (≥ 95%) from palm wine?
A. fractional distillation without a dehydrant
B. simple distillation with a dehydrant
C. fractional distillation with a dehydrant
D. column chromatography
Palm wine contains ethanol, water, yeast, and some impurities. This means fractional distillation is required to separate the mixture.
Fractional distillation can be used to separate two or more liquids mixed together, taking advantage of their differences in boiling points.
Ethanol boils at 78 degrees Celsius while water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. This means during distillation, ethanol comes out first which will further be subjected to more fractionating columns to further improve its concentration to more than 95%.
Please note that a dehydrating agent is not needed, this is because dehydration involves the removal of water molecule(s) from a compound by reacting with it.
Now for the right answer to the above question:
- Option A is correct. Fractional distillation could separate and concentrate the ethanol, and no dehydrating agent is required.
- Option B is incorrect. Simple distillation can also separate ethanol out of the mixture, but the presence of a dehydrating agent in this option renders it wrong, this is because such agent would need to react to form a new substance.
- C is incorrect. no dehydrating agent is required.
- D is not the correct answer. Column chromatography is a technique that uses differences in rates of absorption to separate a mixture of different compounds (especially colors) in the lab, it is not appropriate for taking out ethanol from palm wine.
You may please note these/this:
- There is a difference between drying and dehydration.
- While drying physically removes water from a compound without a reaction, dehydration involves chemical reactions and inter-molecular reformations to remove water molecules and forming a new substance.
- To obtain ethanol from palm wine, no chemical reaction is involved, what really happens is that the ethanol which is already available is made more concentrated by simply heating to distill it out. so, no dehydration is involved.
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/ culled from 2017 JAMB-UTME Chemistry question 21 /