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Difference between atmospheric distillation and Vacuum distillation Atmospheric Distillation  Definition: Vacuum Distillation  Definition: "Atmospheric distillation takes place in a distilling column at or near atmospheric pressure. The crude oil is heated to 350 - 400oC and the vapour and liquid are piped into the distilling column. The liquid falls to the bottom and the vapour rises, passing through a series of perforated trays (sieve trays)."  It operates at atmospheric pressure(which is 760 mm of Hg).  Above this temperature, the oil will thermally crack, or break apart, which impedes the distillation process.  The purpose of atmospheric distillation is primary separation of various 'cuts' of hydrocarbons namely, fuel gases, LPG, naptha , kerosene, diesel and fuel oil.  The heavy hydrocarbon residue left at the bottom of the atmospheric distillation column is sent to vacuum distillation ......column for further separation of (AHMAD BILAL DDP-FA12-BEC-086) 1 "Vacuum distillation is a method of distillation whereby the pressure above the liquid mixture to be distilled is reduced to less than its vapor pressure causing evaporation of the most volatile liquids."  It operates at 10-20 mm of Hg.  This distillation method works on the principle that boiling occurs when the vapor pressure of a liquid exceeds the ambient pressure.  Vacuum distillation is used with or without heating the mixture.  2 Schematic flow diagram of a typical crude oil distillation unit as used in petroleum crude oil refineries Where: LGO= Light gas oil. HGO= Heavy gas oil. LVGO= Light vacuum gas oil. HVGO= Heavy vacuum gas oil. RCO= Reduced crude oil. (AHMAD BILAL DDP-FA12-BEC-086) 3  References:  df        (AHMAD BILAL DDP-FA12-BEC-086)