Simple Distillation: Recycle waste from biodiesel production

Time to complete course: 30 min.

About Simple Distillation: Recycle waste from biodiesel production Virtual Lab Simulation

Resources in your new colony on Mars are limited, so anything you can do to convert waste into a useful product can be a life-changer! In this simulation, your mission is to use the distillation technique to separate and recycle the waste compounds generated by the production of biodiesel from algae (water, glycerol, and methanol) so they can be reutilized.

Set up the distillation equipment

Start by setting up the equipment correctly. Every part of the apparatus has a function and needs to be assembled properly for the experiment to be successful. Make sure everything is in the right place before you start the experiment.

Follow the distillation experiments in real time

Once you start the distillation, you will be able to follow the temperature versus volume plot in real time. You will need to collect different samples during the experiment and Dr. One will provide you the boiling point composition curves so you can understand what is happening during the distillation process in both the distillation apparatus and the collection flasks.

Analyze your results. Did you complete your mission?

Look at your data and reflect about your results. Were you able to separate the three components from your sample? Are there any other experiments you can do to further optimize the mixture separation?

Get Started Now

Use the technique of simple distillation to help your colony on Mars purify the waste generated by the production of biodiesel from algae (water, glycerol, and methanol).

Techniques In Lab

  • Simple Distillation

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the application of the distillation technique
  • Calculate the mole % composition of a mixture 
  • Describe how the mole % composition of the mixture changes as the distillation proceeds
  • Set up a simple distillation experiment and describe the function of the different components
  • Justify the correct assembly of the cooling system and the location of the thermometer
  • Interpret boiling point composition curves and temperature vs. volume plots
  • Understand the dependency of the boiling temperature on the atmospheric pressure
  • Explain when to use simple or fractional distillation and why

Screenshots of Simple Distillation: Recycle waste from biodiesel productionVirtual Lab Simulation


Dr. Mark Mechelke

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
St. Cloud State University

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