Gordon, Louis Formerly, Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, Ohio.
Murray, Royce W. Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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The process of converting a chemical substance from a liquid or solid state to a gaseous or vapor state. Other terms used to describe the same process are vaporization, distillation, and sublimation. A substance can often be separated from another by volatilization and can then be recovered by condensation of the vapor. The substance can be made to volatilize more rapidly either by heating to increase its vapor pressure or by removal of the vapor using a stream of inert gas or a vacuum pump. Heating procedures include the volatilization of water, of mercury, or of arsenic trichloride to separate these substances from interfering elements. Chemical reactions are sometimes utilized to produce volatile products as in the release of carbon dioxide from carbonates, of ammonia in the Kjeldahl method for the determination of nitrogen, and of sulfur dioxide in the determination of sulfur in steel. Volatilization methods are generally characterized by great simplicity and ease of operation, except when high temperatures or highly corrosion-resistant materials are needed. See also: Chemical separation techniques; Distillation; Sublimation; Vapor pressure
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