If you're on the quest for the purest product that can be made by distillation, the compound still is your tool. The price of the distinctly higher purity is a slightly more complex operation and longer operating runs.
The compound still is simply a fractionating still with a condenser on the top and a means of returning controlled amounts of condensed liquid back to the column as induced reflux. The fractionating still achieves reasonable separation through the naturally occurring reflux in its packing, and the longer its packed column the better it works. The compound column accomplishes significantly better separation to occur by recycling the reflux in the upper portion of its column over and over again, until the components of the liquid/vapor mix in the column settle into dynamic equilibrium.
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