The water resulting from the distillation process is purified from both inorganic and organic impurities. These impurities can take the form of things such as bacteria and mineral salts. Water purified using distillation has several advantageous characteristics, which make it rather useful for a variety of applications.
Applications of Distilled Water
Drinking Water: The distillation process is an excellent method for delivering purified drinking water. It is one way to deliver water free of organic contaminants, making it a useful method for meeting the chemical and bacterial requirements that governments put into place to maintain a healthy populace. Furthermore, distillation can desalinate salt water supplies; this transforms sea water into drinkable water.
Ships: Naval vessels use distillation to desalinate the ocean waters they traverse. The result can be used for both crew consumption as well as the cooling of onboard engines. Nuclear powered vessels have a particular need for purified water as a coolant. The number of impurities the coolant water possesses has a direct impact on lessening the chances of a random error that can lead to disastrous consequences.
Lead Acid Batteries: Automobiles also require a top up on the coolant in their lead acid batteries. Tap water contains charged ion impurities, which can interact with the battery’s components. This can lead to a drastically reduced battery life. The purified distilled water does not have these impurities, and therefore results in much greater life.
Aquariums: Fish are not necessarily adapted to live in the water that comes from our taps. They require a relatively impurity free water in order to live. If water is too cloudy, too filled with bacteria, or contains too many mineral salts, fish can actually expire before long. In order to protect their often costly investments, aquarium owners will rely on distilled water to keep their tanks’ contents alive and swimming.
Surgical Purposes: It goes without saying that bacteria have no place in the operating room. Hospitals surgeons prefer to work in sterile conditions to reduce the risk to their patients. Distilled water has been boiled as part of its purification process. Distilled water is used not only in the surgery room, but in the cleaning and preparation of the instruments themselves.
Distilled vs. Deionized: A Process Overview
Though distilled water and deionized water are both pure waters, they are the results of incredibly different processes. A side effect of these processes is that the two different purified solutions have different characteristics. These differences grant the two water types advantages for use in particular applications.
Distillation is the result of boiling water and then condensing the water vapors in a clean container. This can be performed with the use of an actual still or two pots on a stove range. This exploits both inorganic contaminants’ differences in boiling point as well as organic contaminants’ low tolerance for boiling water temperatures.
Deionization is a chemical process that uses charged particles to attract mineral salt impurities, which are charged ions like calcium and nitrates. While deionization is a great way to produce water that can be used in spotless car washes and window washes, it does not remove as many impurities as distillation.