What is Distilled Water?
by Vintage Road Haulage, Perth WA
Find out how distilled water is created and what it’s used for…
Distilled water is water which has undergone a purification process to remove any contaminants and natural minerals, through a process called distillation. Distilled water has been around for thousands of years and its first recorded use was around 200AD by Alexander of Aphrodisias who distilled sea water to drink.
A significant disadvantage of producing distilled water is that it is very costly because of the large amounts of electricity or fuel required for the distillation process.
How Is Distilled Water Made?
Distillation is a process which involves heating water to boiling point, then collecting the produced steam in another container and condensing it back into water.
Various minerals and impurities have a lower boiling point than water. This means than by the time the water has boiled at 100°C and turned into steam, the minerals and impurities have already reached their lower boiling point and subsequently evaporated, as they are not part of the steam catchment process. As the steam from the water cools down, it turns back into water and what is collected is pure distilled water.
Before World War 2, it took one gallon of fuel to make one gallon of distilled drinking water. This was very costly and time consuming, especially for ships at sea. A compression still called the Kleinschmidt Still was created and it could turn 175 gallons of sea water into distilled water using only one gallon of fuel.
The distillation technology has now moved onto the use of flash-type evaporators which only heat the sea water to 70-80°C and evaporate the water in a vacuum for condensing. Solar distillers are also now available for distilling purposes.
What Is It Used For?
Distilled water is favoured for use by manufacturers for use in their appliances because of the lack of impurities and minerals which can cause damage or a build-up of minerals. There are plenty of specific uses for distilled water though, including use in:
- Chemical and biological laboratories
- Lead acid batteries
- Automotive cooling systems
- Steam irons
- Household aquariums
- Cigar humidors
- Airplane jet engines
- Hospital equipment
Can Humans Drink Distilled Water?
Drinking distilled water is NOT recommended. This is because unlike tap water, it does not contain the naturally occurring minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium and these minerals are needed as part of our regular dietary intake. It can also cause dehydration and lead to illness.
For bulk supply and water cartage statewide in Western Australia, call Vintage Road Haulage (08) 9410 1726 or email using the contact form on the right.